PA) - Another milestone has been reached in the Heart Failure and
Transplantation Program of the University of Pennsylvania
Health System. In continuing to meet the goals of providing
centralized outpatient care services for heart failure and cardiac
transplant patients -- a procedure area was built and opened in
July 2003 in the Penn Tower building. It was built in this location
to accommodate our patients who were already receiving cardiac care
services including physician and nursing visits, echocardiography,
phlebotomy, exercise testing, financial counseling, social services
and research. On September 13, 2005, the heart transplant staff
performed the 2500th endomyocardial biopsy procedure at this site.
This effort involves coordination of services by staff from the
heart failure and transplantation program, the catheterization lab,
as well as radiology. Prior to the opening of the procedure area,
patients went to the HUP cardiac catheterization laboratory located
in the hospital for their biopsy.
About the Biopsy…
The biopsy procedure is unique to heart transplant patients. Other
transplant patients can simply undergo blood or breathing tests
to make sure their body is still accepting the donated organ. However,
heart transplant patients must, for the rest of their lives, take
immune suppression medication and have routine biopsies conducted.
During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into a vein in the
neck and routed into the right side of the heart. Once in the right
ventricle, technicians remove about 4-5 tiny pieces (about the size
of a tip of a pencil). These pieces are then sent to pathology to
be studied to see if there is any problem with the immune system
and rejection of the heart. This is an ongoing process for heart
transplant recipients… done weekly, then monthly for approximately
About the Patient….
He’s 66 years young! After three heart attacks and two operations,
Anthony Branco waited a year for his new heart -- and received it
in March of 2000. This former Philadelphia police officer and now
part-time hospital security guard lives in Northeast Philadelphia.
His wife, Linda, is a technician in HUP’s cardiac stress lab.
Branco, who earned the nickname of “the Mayor” after
spending so much time in the heart failure and transplantation hospital
unit while waiting for his donor heart, said “I truly wouldn’t
be alive today if it weren’t for the wonderful team here and
the donor who gave me his heart.”
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation
for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top
research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty
and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide
for its superior education and training of the next generation of
physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes: its
flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll”
hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital,
the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.