LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock reached a huge milestone. The hospital’s Heart Transplant and VAD Institute completed its 300th heart transplant. The first transplant the team performed was on November 10, 1989.
“We have pretty much everything that’s available any where in the world to support people. We are the only complete heart failure program in Arkansas and have been for a long time,” says Dr. John Ransom, Program Director of the Heart Transplant and VAD Insititue at Baptist Health.
Dr. John Ransom works with various heart devices and treatments, and has performed many transplants throughout the years.
“We’ve averaged 10 transplants a year, but to reach the 300th is significant and then to do it with a patient like Adam is pretty special,” he says.
Adam Tappin is the 300th patient to get a new heart. Doctors say his case was unique because it took awhile to find a donor that was compatible with Adam’s size, blood type and antibodies.
“His body had developed antibodies to multiple different antigens that we all produce in our bodies. As a result, there was a very small, limited number of patients in the population that he was a match with,” says Dr. Patrick Campbell, Medical Director of the Heart Failure and Transplant Institute
While waiting for a match, doctors cared for Adam for several months because the pump in the heartmate device was at risk of stopping.
“It’s been rough,” says Adam Tappin, 300th Transplant Patient.
More than a decade ago, Adam was playing basketball when he had shortness of breath. Doctors diagnosed him with Cardiomyopothy, a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Since then, a heartmate device kept his heart pumping, up until a few weeks ago.
“I thank him, whoever he was. I really do, I thank him for a second chance in life. Also, for my doctors I’d like to thank them too for staying with me the whole way through,” says Tappin.
At 43-years-old, Adam had never been more patient about the wait, and grateful to be able to pick up a basketball again. If you are, or know someone, who is experiencing heart complications, Dr. Ransom says it’s worth giving them a call.
“We get a lot of people that have been sent to hospice and they’ll call because they’ve heard about us. And we have a lot of those people who are living 10 years later,” says Dr. Ransom.
For more information on the Baptist Health Heart Transplant and VAD Institute, visit HERE.
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