The medical center’s transplant program has a long history of providing heart transplant services to our patients. The VA began the first heart transplant program at Richmond VA Medical Center almost 30 years ago with the leadership of Dr. Szabolcs Szentpetery. The longevity of the program continues today, with Dr. Gundars Katlaps , Surgical Director, Heart Transplant program, Dr. Neil Lewis, Medical Director Heart Failure/ Transplant Program, Dr. Szentpetery, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, an accomplishment noted by a small number of cardiac transplant programs worldwide.
The team continues to be on the cutting edge of transplant medicine by being the first VAMC in the country to offer a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) as a bridge to transplant. This technology has allowed us to provide the sickest patients the opportunity to improve their overall state of health, thereby increasing the opportunity for a successful outcome following transplantation.
Currently, the team has implanted numerous Heart Mate II Left Ventricular Devices and our ongoing Heart Failure/Heart Transplant research program has allowed us to provide “state of the art” medical management for pre and post transplant patients.
The Heart Transplant Team at Richmond VAMC is proud of the 30 years of serving our Nation’s Heroes and will celebrate this accomplishment in early December with post transplant patients and their families.