MUSC voluntarily halts heart transplant program, pending review

MUSC voluntarily halts heart transplant program, pending review

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - MUSC says it voluntarily inactivated its adult heart transplant program Saturday over concerns about new hearts being weak after transplants were completed. The hospital has requested an expedited review of the transplant program with the United Network for Organ Sharing, according to MUSC spokesperson Heather Woolwine.

When an internal review at the beginning of the year could not uncover a root cause to explain the weakness detected in transplanted hearts, Woolwine said, the facility invited a team of cardiologists and transplant surgeons from other centers to review the program. This outside team was also unable to identify a specific cause and the hospital was encouraged to continue with heart transplants.

Since that time, MUSC performed two transplants, and in both cases, the hearts were weak, Woolwine says. In a release from the hospital, the death of one of those two patients prompted the decision.

"This is the reason we have temporarily and voluntarily sopped doing adult heart transplants, and we will not perform any adult heart transplants until we have finished a top to bottom investigation with the help of UNOS," the release states.

"We understand that this is a very difficult situation for our patients, and our decision to voluntarily inactivate the adult heart transplant program was made with the understanding that we are still able to provide a number of end-stage heart failure treatments," the release states. "MUSC has demonstrated exceptional outcomes in the 20 year history of the adult heart transplant program, and this relatively sudden and unexplained patient safety issue must be addressed to ensure our patients are clearly informed and receiving the highest quality of care possible."

The shutdown does not affect the pediatric heart transplant program, MUSC says.

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