NYU Winthrop Hospital announced Friday a heart transplant services program — a system in which critical patient monitoring before receiving a new organ is conducted in Mineola with the transplant being done at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. Follow-up care after a transplant also will be in Mineola.
Before this year end-stage heart failure patients on Long Island had no transplant-care options close to home. All patients in need of a new organ had to receive their evaluation and surgeries in Manhattan, Westchester County or the Bronx.
The collaborative effort opens a new window for Long Islanders by allowing them to be evaluated and monitored on the Island by the same team that will be involved in their transplant in the city, doctors said.
The transplant program will be headed by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Nader Moazami, formerly of the Cleveland Clinic, who has performed more than 300 heart transplants, NYU Winthrop officials said Friday.
Moazami was hired by NYU Langone this summer.
“We’re creating an integrated system between NYU Langone and NYU Winthrop so that a patient in need of therapies for end-stage heart failure encounters a seamless process,” Moazami said.
The surgeon added that he would regularly travel from NYU Langone to NYU Winthrop to evaluate new patients and monitor those already in the program. In addition, he will head a mechanical heart division aimed at offering patients access to implants, such as the left-ventricular assist device, or LVAD, a pump that assumes the duties of the heart in patients whose own organ has failed.
The new heart transplant and mechanical implant programs arrive on the heels of a full-service, on-campus heart and mechanical pump protocol established at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset earlier this year.
Two weeks ago doctors at that hospital announced that they had implanted the newest generation of LVADs, the HeartMate 3, technology designed to reduce the need for a possible pump replacement. At the time of that announcement, hospital officials said they expected “to list [their] first patient for heart transplantation in the coming weeks.”
On Friday, Moazami said he also had Long Island patients who were ready to advance to the next step. “We are in the phase of evaluating and listing. And from there it becomes a matter of waiting for a heart to become available.”
Neither NYU Langone nor Winthrop “had a heart transplant program in the past, so this is the first time that one has been established, and we are planning to have a lung transplant program to very soon follow,” Moazami said Friday.
The lung transplant program is expected to begin evaluating patients in February.
Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at NYU Winthrop, said the addition of transplant services in Mineola elevates his hospital’s already-strong cardiology program. “For the patients this means that they can have all of their testing and management in their own backyard,” he said, meaning close to home.
Patients who receive a mechanical implant are considered candidates for a new heart, Marzo said. The device will serve as “a bridge to transplant,” which means an interim pump as the patient awaits a heart.
Moazami, meanwhile, says he expects to perform the first transplant within the first two months of 2018.