Adding heart transplantation to its full suite of services for patients with heart failure, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix (BUMCP) is now home to the only fully comprehensive heart failure treatment center in Arizona, providing state-of-the-art care from prevention to transplant. The Advanced Heart Failure Program completed its tenth heart transplant on July 20 after successfully launching in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very excited to bring virtually all the prevention and treatment options that patients with heart failure may need into one complete program,” said Francisco Arabia, MD, Physician Executive of the Advanced Heart Failure Program, which is part of the Banner – University Medicine Heart Institute. “Our hope is that this program will offer the most diverse solutions for heart failure patients, ensuring the best quality of life possible.”
BUMCP was approved to perform heart transplants at the end of 2019 by the United Network for Organ Sharing, the private, nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system. The approval to perform heart transplants was the final step needed to launch the comprehensive program, which conducted its first transplant in February, just as the pandemic began. The team took extreme precautions, testing donors and recipients for COVID-19, before completing transplants and minimizing the risk of exposure post-procedure.
The Advanced Heart Failure Program is supported by an in-house team of experts that is focused on collaboration to provide the right treatment to the right patient. “Heart failure is not a death sentence, but it requires a specialized and coordinated healthcare team to provide the most comprehensive care,” said Radha Gopalan, MD, Medical Director for Advanced Heart Failure, Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support at Banner – University Medicine Heart Institute.
About 5.7 million Americans live with heart failure, one of the most common reasons people 65 and older are hospitalized. The heart failure program supports patients with all forms of cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. The medical center’s Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MOBI) was established in collaboration with Banner – University Medical Center Tucson to provide a SWAT team approach to heart failure care. When critically ill patients from outside institutions cannot be transported by regular means, the highly skilled MOBI team is dispatched to transfer those patients to Banner for treatment.
Dr. Arabía, who joined Banner in 2018, also specializes in performing total artificial heart procedures, completing seven successful procedures at BUMCP to date. The total artificial heart is a surgically installed pump to replace the heart that is diseased or damaged. In addition to performing this procedure, the new program will also conduct clinical trials to research the latest generation of total artificial heart devices, including BiVACOR and CARMAT. Banner is one of only seven programs in the U.S. in the CARMAT trial for a new total artificial heart.