HOUSTON (April 20, 2018)

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TMC) recently earned certification from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for lung transplants. The certification allows a wider range of people in need to access safe, high-quality service through the Lung Transplant Program at Memorial Hermann-TMC, per established CMS standards.

According to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), only California and Pennsylvania have more extensive lung transplant wait lists than Texas.

“The CMS certification makes our program more accessible to people in Texas and around the country who need a lung transplant,” said Soma Jyothula, MD, medical director of the Lung Transplant Program at Memorial Hermann-TMC and assistant professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in the Center for Advanced Heart Failure. “We have had great lung transplant patient outcomes and we are now able to better realize our vision of improving quality of life for those with chronic lung disease.”

Government certification of transplant programs requires transplant centers to undergo thorough evaluation of proven ability to meet stringent standards for quality and patient outcomes. The heart, kidney, liver and pancreas transplant programs at Memorial Hermann-TMC are also CMS certified. The lung transplant program is the newest of the transplant programs at Memorial Hermann-TMC.

UNOS approved Memorial Hermann-TMC’s application to initiate a lung transplant program in the fall of 2015. The center’s first lung transplant was performed in December 2015, after which the process of obtaining CMS certification began. Since then, the program team members have worked diligently toward certification, which is required before Medicare and Medicaid enrollees can receive in-network coverage of a transplant program’s services. Many private insurers also require CMS certification before approving transplant services.

“The purposes of lung transplantation, currently the sole treatment for end-stage lung disease, are improved patient survival, improved functional capacity, and relief of symptoms,” said Keshava Rajagopal, MD, Ph.D., surgical director of the Lung Transplant Program at Memorial Hermann-TMC and assistant professor at McGovern Medical School in the Center for Advanced Heart Failure. “As our program expands, we will continue to focus on sustained high quality and scientific and clinical innovation in end-stage lung disease.”

Numbers to know about the Lung Transplant Program at Memorial Hermann-TMC:

  • 95 percent: Survival outcomes to date of nearly 95 percent, which is higher than the national averages for all adult age groups for 1-, 3- and 5-year survival, according to UNOS data.
  • 22.5 days: The median wait-list time for candidates. 84 percent of current UNOS registrants have been waiting for more than 30 days. Nearly two-thirds of those on the list in Texas have been waiting more than 90 days.
  • 17 days: Post-transplant, the median length of stay. 84 percent of patients in the Lung Transplant Program have been discharged from the hospital within 30 days.
  • 65 years: More than 50 percent of its transplant recipients are aged 65 or older, who often have greater health risks and complex lung illnesses, including: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis/interstitial lung disease, emphysema (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pulmonary hypertension and sarcoidosis.

“Our patients with end-stage chronic lung disease who are awaiting lung transplant are now assured an uninterrupted continuum of care, from diagnosis to surgery, and throughout post-surgical and follow-up care,” Dr. Jyothula said.

The Lung Transplant Program at Memorial Hermann-TMC is part of the Center for Advanced Heart Failure at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-TMC and the Department of Advanced Cardiopulmonary Therapies and Transplantation at McGovern Medical School.

Learn more about the Lung Transplant Program at Memorial Hermann-TMC or call 713-222-2273.