Oregon Health and Science University said it’s actively recruiting cardiologists to restart its shuttered heart transplant program.
OHSU suspended its program six months ago, after four cardiologists left in short succession.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Renee Edwards said personnel matters prevent her explaining what happened, but she said OHSU is actively recruiting cardiologists to reopen the program.
“We’ve had many of them to campus and are in the process of recruiting a new heart transplant cardiology team,” Edwards said.
“Of course, we still have in place all of the elements of our program other than the cardiologists as far as the transplant surgeons, the many coordinators and nurses, and support systems for the transplant program.”
Edwards could not say when the program would re-open.
OHSU has conducted internal and external reviews of the program to learn what happened, but it’s not sharing the findings.
Last year, the university announced the head of the Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Dr. Sanjiv Kaul, would be stepping down. He was replaced on an interim basis by Dr. Sharon Anderson, dean of OHSU’s School of Medicine.
Providence Health System has treated more than 350 heart patients from OHSU since the heart transplant program was put on hold. Cardiologist Dr. Dan Oseran said he’s been having on-going conversations with OHSU about what the future looks like.
“The question is: What is the best pathway forward?” Oseran said. “Is it us starting our own program? Is it partnering with OHSU or another partner? Is it OHSU starting on their own? I can’t tell you which way is likely to occur. I can tell you that the community needs a high quality sustainable heart transplant program.”
At the moment, no transplants are happening in Oregon. They’re being conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle and in San Francisco.