PORTLAND, Ore. – After the founder of Nike announced he and his wife were donating $75 million to bring a heart transplant program back to Oregon, a competing program was announced.
Last August, Oregon Health and Science University announced they would be suspending their heart transplant program. OHSU said they made that decision after at least three cardiologists on the transplant team left or announced plans to leave.
The suspension meant the hospital would stop evaluating new patients, accepting donor hearts, or perform any heart transplant surgeries. OHSU was the only hospital in the state that performed heart transplants.
In March of 2019, Nike found Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, donated $75 million to Providence Health Institute’s heart program. A portion of the money would go to the development of a heart transplant program at Providence.
“For the past five months Providence Heart Institute has been providing critically needed services for nearly 400 additional patients who had previously received a heart transplant or an implanted left ventricular assist device and received care at OHSU,” said Dr. Dan Oseran. “It’s clear that our state needs an established, comprehensive and stable set of services for these vulnerable patients.”
With much of the infrastructure already in place, Providence estimated they’d have their transplant program up and running within a year.
Now, it appears there will be two heart transplant programs in the state after OHSU announced they’re lifting the suspension on their program.
OPB reports OHSU’s 400 heart patients were taken on by Providence, with transplant patients having to travel hundreds of miles to have the actual procedure completed.
While heart transplants will once again take place in Oregon, some are left questioning if there are enough patients to support two programs.
According to OPB, both hospitals are looking at the possibility of starting a partnership. “We continue to have conversations with our partners at OHSU,” said executive medical director of the Providence Heart Institute, Dan Oseran. “But we ultimately made the decision that either with or without them, we are going to go forward and start a program.”