Maryland’s Health Matters - St. Joseph - Spring 2017 - 11

90 percent for patients receiv-

sure a pair of donor lungs

detailed, and we're proud of

is doing after undergoing

ing transplants from early

is suitable for a patient,

what we do as a center."

a lung transplant at UMMC

2013 to the middle of 2015.

brings the lungs back to

Living is what Lia, 38,

from one of the region's top
lung transplant teams.

SKILL IN
ADVANCED
TREATMENT
Between Dr. Iacono; Si Pham,

survival of patients. From 2013

the transplant, which can

through the middle of 2015,

take about six hours, some-

TREATING THE
WORST OF
THE WORST

UMMC's team performed 25

times longer. That's all in

In 2012, Lia Young was

transplants on patients older

a day's work.

diagnosed with pulmonary

Age isn't a factor in the

than 65. Everyone survived.
The high success rates can

Maryland and then performs

"There's a lot of sacrifice,"

fibrosis and scleroderma,

Dr. Pham says. "But transplant

a chronic autoimmune condi-

MD, a professor of surgery

be attributed to the team con-

is my passion. It's something

tion that causes the skin to

at the University of Maryland

stantly seeking new, improved

I love to do because you have

harden. She never smoked

School of Medicine and

ways of treating patients.

a chance to make a difference

cigarettes and didn't have

director of heart and lung

Techniques include ex vivo

in people's lives."

a family history of either

transplantation at UMMC;

lung perfusion (EVLP), which

and cardiac surgeon Bartley

strengthens donor lungs;

himself in the same situation,

Griffith, MD, a professor of

extracorporeal mechanical

flying to retrieve lungs for a

surgery at the University of

oxygenation (ECMO), which

patient before performing

oxygen, consuming as much

Maryland School of Medicine,

allows a donor candidate's

the transplant on his return.

as 10 liters a minute. She'd

there are more than 75 years

lungs to rest while still supply-

Dr. Iacono sometimes trav-

get out of breath going to

of experience in lung trans-

ing the body with oxygen; and

els out of the state to see

her children's soccer games,

plantation at UMMC. Also on

plasmapheresis, a technique

patients and says he has been

often watching from the car

the surgical team is Zachary

that lowers a lung donor's

at the hospital nearly every

to avoid the weather, be it

Kon, MD, an assistant profes-

antibodies and is performed

day during the past 15 years.

too cold, hot or windy.

sor of surgery who trained at

at only a handful of hospitals

"It's my passion to do

the University of Maryland

in the U.S. Patients with high

this," Dr. Iacono says. "We

rapidly. She was admitted to

School of Medicine.

antibodies have revved-up

really love taking care of

a local hospital in Dallas and

autoimmune systems, making

patients. What we do is very

was soon put on life support.

Drs. Iacono, Pham and
Griffith started their medical

their bodies more likely

careers when lung transplan-

to reject the donor lungs.

tation was far less sophisti-

add several years of life to

with severe lung diseases

a patient who otherwise

had almost no hope of

would have surely died at

healthy futures.

a young age," Dr. Iacono says.

a 100 percent mortality rate,"

DEDICATED TEAM

Dr. Iacono says. "Over the

A lung transplant surgeon's

past 20 to 30 years, we've

role isn't solely in the operat-

seen major advances in

ing room.

treatment. The stimulus

up out of nowhere.
She eventually was using

Her condition deteriorated

There can be limited

and catalyst for me was to

access to transplantable lungs

try to help these patients."

in Maryland, so Dr. Pham

UMMC performed 43 lung

disease. Both seemed to pop

"We've been able to

cated and most patients

"You'd see almost

Dr. Kon frequently finds

sometimes travels out of state

transplants in 2015, with

to get donor lungs. He takes

a survival rate above

a flight to another city to make

visit umm.edu/lungtx or call 410-328-2864.

Lia Young with pulmonologist Aldo Iacono, MD,
who was part of the team that brought Lia from Texas
to UMMC for her double-lung transplant.
stjosephtowson.com | Spring 2017  11


http://www.umm.edu/lungtx http://www.stjosephtowson.com

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