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URMC performs 40 heart transplants, sets record

todayJanuary 19, 2024 6

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The University of Rochester Medical Center is celebrating a record for 2023 — there were 40 heart transplants performed at Strong Memorial Hospital last year. That’s up 82% from the 22 performed in 2022.

“I’ve never had a heart that works,” said heart recipient Denise Champagne, “so I know how I felt before and I’m kind of back to there only instead of deteriorating I’m improving all the time.”

Champagne tells News 8 she received her new heart in March. She was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect as a toddler and her transplant was her fifth open chest surgery— the first four were valve replacements. “I had three (surgeries) before I graduated high school, including an emergency surgery in my senior year.”

Cardiac transplant surgeon Dr. Katherine Wood told me performing the surgery was extremely challenging because of the heavy scarring in Champagne’s chest from her previous surgeries. “It was a very very long, tedious surgery,” said Wood, “but she had an outstanding outcome and I honestly could not be more pleased.” Because of a team of experts, they were able to get the job done.

Wood expected Champagne to be on the transplant list for one to two years, but was pleasantly surprised when she got the news about an available heart just six months later.

“We had a perfect heart and you never turn down a perfect heart,” she said. “I still remember when we got it, because I called Denise and I told her that we have a heart for you already, and we both were equally surprised.”

Champagne says she’s grateful for the team that helped her and the heart donor. She’s excited for what’s to come. “I’m going uphill instead of downhill and now I’ve got a future to look at, where before I wasn’t sure I had one.”

There is always a need for donors, according to URMC, more than 500 people are waiting for a heart, liver, kidney, or pancreas transplant at Strong Memorial. Anyone age 16 and older can enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry online, at the Department of Motor Vehicles, while registering to vote, or through UR Medicine’s portal.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The University of Rochester Medical Center is celebrating a record for 2023 — there were 40 heart transplants performed at Strong Memorial Hospital last year. That’s up 82% from the 22 performed in 2022.

“I’ve never had a heart that works,” said heart recipient Denise Champagne, “so I know how I felt before and I’m kind of back to there only instead of deteriorating I’m improving all the time.”

Champagne tells News 8 she received her new heart in March. She was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect as a toddler and her transplant was her fifth open chest surgery— the first four were valve replacements. “I had three (surgeries) before I graduated high school, including an emergency surgery in my senior year.”

Cardiac transplant surgeon Dr. Katherine Wood told me performing the surgery was extremely challenging because of the heavy scarring in Champagne’s chest from her previous surgeries. “It was a very very long, tedious surgery,” said Wood, “but she had an outstanding outcome and I honestly could not be more pleased.” Because of a team of experts, they were able to get the job done.

Wood expected Champagne to be on the transplant list for one to two years, but was pleasantly surprised when she got the news about an available heart just six months later.

“We had a perfect heart and you never turn down a perfect heart,” she said. “I still remember when we got it, because I called Denise and I told her that we have a heart for you already, and we both were equally surprised.”

Champagne says she’s grateful for the team that helped her and the heart donor. She’s excited for what’s to come. “I’m going uphill instead of downhill and now I’ve got a future to look at, where before I wasn’t sure I had one.”

There is always a need for donors, according to URMC, more than 500 people are waiting for a heart, liver, kidney, or pancreas transplant at Strong Memorial. Anyone age 16 and older can enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry online, at the Department of Motor Vehicles, while registering to vote, or through UR Medicine’s portal. Read More NewsRochesterFirst  

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