[Source: ] – St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is launching the Valley’s first pediatric heart transplant program.
The hospital already is set up to handle heart transplants, but Dr. John Nigro, director of the program, needs a few more months to iron out details before performing any procedures.
In Arizona, 10 to 20 children become eligible for the surgery each year, Nigro said. They have had to travel to Tucson’s University Medical Center or other states to receive heart transplants because no local doctors were qualified to perform the procedure.
St. Joseph’s has been working for the past few years to create the pediatric heart transplant program, including recruiting surgeons and specialists, as well as two pediatric heart-failure cardiologists: Drs. Stephan Pophal and Edward Rhee. Hospital officials did not put a dollar figure on the cost to create the program.
For more information: St. Joe’s set for pediatric heart transplants