It was one of the first programs of its kind in the country. Now the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish lung transplant program is celebrating 25 years of changing lives.
The program’s first successful adult lung transplant was performed on July 17, 1988. Today, the program is one of the world’s largest, with surgeons completing more than 1,280 lung transplants to date.
“This is a milestone for our program and for our patients,” says Ramsey Hachem, MD, medical director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish lung transplant program. “The program has garnered valuable experience over time and built a strong reputation. I’m very proud to say that we’ve taken care of many patients and done the best that can be done.”
“I think what distinguishes our program is an outstanding commitment to research and to taking what we’ve learned in the laboratory and applying it to patient care,” says G. Alexander Patterson, MD, Washington University chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish lung transplant program. “It’s a remarkable accomplishment for the program to achieve the success and innovation that has occurred over the last 25 years.”
Dr. Patterson was a member of the University of Toronto team that performed the first successful lung transplant in 1983. Since joining the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center in 1991, he has helped to develop and mature the lung transplant program through experience and clinical research. Surgeons from around the world come to study with Dr. Patterson and his colleagues.
“Our results are as good as they are because the team who cares for our patients is terrific—that includes everyone from surgeons and pulmonologists to anesthesiologists and nurses,” says Dr. Patterson. “Successful outcomes in something as complicated as lung transplantation depend on a talented team.”
The lung transplant program at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital continues to be one of the best in the world. Some of its many innovations include being the first program to use single lung transplant for certain conditions such as pulmonary hypertension. Additionally, Michael Pasque, MD, a Washington University cardiothoracic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and his colleagues developed the sequential bilateral lung transplant—the transplantation of each lung separately.
The pulmonary program, an integral part of the lung transplant program, has also been consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This week, it was named eighth in the country.
“One of the significant things that sets our program apart is our breadth of experience,” says Bert Trulock, MD, a Washington University pulmonologist and medical director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish lung transplant program from 1988 to July 2013. “Our staff has always had a strong commitment to patient care; many of these patients become almost like family. We get the opportunity to know them not only as patients, but as people.”
“We’re extremely proud of what the program has been able to achieve over the last 25 years and we look forward to another successful 25 years of providing the best possible care for patients with lung disease through transplantation,” says Dr. Hachem.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,315 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff, with many recognized as "Best Doctors in America." Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked as one of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.