Springfield, Ill.-- Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. has become the state's newest kidney transplant center and the first for Chicago's south and southwest suburbs, following formal approval of the hospital's plans today (December 1) by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board.
As a result of the vote, physicians at the medical center expect to begin seeing and evaluating patients as potential candidates for kidney transplantation and potential candidates for living kidney donation.
"Kidney transplantation is a much preferred alternative to life-long kidney dialysis for patients with end stage kidney disease," Dominica Tallarico, chief operating officer for Advocate Christ Medical Center and Hope Children's Hospital, told the state planning board. "Kidney transplantation is less costly than dialysis over the life of the patient and immeasurably improves a patient's life. We are prepared to offer this quality option to patients in a portion of the Chicago area not now served by a kidney transplant center."
"Christ Medical Center's commitment to transplantation is reflected in its success as a heart transplant center and its status as a leading provider of organs and donor tissue in Illinois and Northwest Indiana," said Deepak Mital MD FACS, director of the new kidney transplant program and lead surgeon. "The state's approval of our role as a kidney transplant center will now encourage people to donate more organs and increase the number of transplant surgeries that can be performed.
"Establishing a kidney transplant program is a logical extension of the medical center's extremely strong nephrology service," he added. "We currently have 22 nephrologists on staff providing both pre- and post-transplant services."
Kasturi Vinay Ranga MD, transplant nephrologist, said that the same risk factors responsible for heart disease cause kidney diseases. Also, an increasing number of patients are in need of heart-kidney transplants.
"It make sense that a heart transplant center offer kidney transplants as well to ensure that patients have access to a full spectrum of care in the same facility," said
Dr. Ranga, who is the lead medical kidney transplant specialist for the medical center.
Hypertension and diabetes, primary causes of chronic kidney disease, are prevalent in the Chicago area, and the incidence of these diseases is expected to increase. Lacking a kidney transplant center closer to home, growing numbers of kidney patients from the south and southwest areas of Chicago and surrounding suburbs have had to travel long distances to obtain needed services at kidney transplant centers located primarily in and around the central portions of the city.
Development of a kidney transplant program at Christ Medical Center - the Southland's only provider of tertiary and quaternary health care - will improve these patients' access to transplantation services and help them avoid long commutes.
The state planning board's approval of Christ Medical Center's Certificate of Need for kidney transplantation follows the United Network for Organ Sharing's designation of the medical center for kidney transplants earlier this year. UNOS is the national agency that accredits institutions for solid organ transplantation following rigorous review and analysis of the institution and personnel.
Formerly director of pancreas transplantation at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Dr. Mital has extensive clinical and research experience, providing care to more than 1,000 transplant patients in his career and serving as principal investigator in several national and international studies of immnosuppressive agents. He has published several articles on transplantation and is on the editorial board of many journals.
Before coming to Christ Medical Center, Dr. Ranga was director of the division of transplant medicine at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, served as UNOS medical director for pancreas transplant at Hartford Hospital and held appointment as an assistant professor of nephrology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He has received several teaching awards and presented extensively at transplant meetings nationally and internationally.
Howard Sankary MD, professor of surgery and chief of the division of intra-abdominal transplantation at Loyola University Medical Center and a member of the Christ Medical Center staff, will provide back-up for Dr. Mital's surgical team under an agreement between the two institutions. Dr. Mital also is a clinical professor of surgery at Loyola University Medical Center. The academic collaboration will ensure that patients at Advocate Christ Medical Center have access to the latest research and technology in renal transplantation, Dr. Mital said.