West Virginia achieves 1st-ever heart transplant

A 61-year-old patient at the West Virginia University Heart and Vascular Institute is the first in the state to receive a successful heart transplant, WVU reported Nov. 10.

Michael Shullo, PharmD, associated vice president of transplant services for WVU Medicine and leader of the WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance, said Saturday’s procedure “marks a new chapter for transplantation in West Virginia,” calling the surgery “the culmination of a tremendous team effort to support access to organ transplantation for all West Virgnians and patients from our surrounding regions.” The procedure, performed on Robert Parsons of Chesapeake, Ohio, lasted a total of six hours and concluded at noon.

By 4 p.m., WVU said, Parsons was stable and had been taken off the ventilator. A 29-person transplant team, including heart surgeons Vinay Badhwar, MD, Muhammad Salman, MD, and Chris Cook, MD, was responsible for the success.

According to WVU, last weekend’s heart transplant was the first ever achieved in West Virginia’s 156-year history.

“On behalf of the tremendous team of your WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, it is an honor and privilege to bring access to this much-needed and precious, life-saving therapy to our patient today,” Badhwar said in a release. “We have opened the doorway to a new future for West Virginians, who no longer have to travel out of state for heart transplantation.”