More than one hundred people received new lungs at The Alfred last year, a milestone for the transplant program.
Head of The Alfred’s lung transplant program, Prof. Greg Snell, said medical teams performed around two surgeries every week to reach the record of 102 transplantations in 2017.
“We are now doing double the number of lung transplants compared with 2009, which is when the Federal Government put more money into organ donation, Prof. Snell said.”
Around 96% of people on the waiting list are receiving new lungs, compared with 70% a decade ago.
Intensive care specialist and medical lead for organ donation at The Alfred, Dr Josh Ihle, said one reason behind the success of the program is increased education of health professionals across the state.
“In the past, some potential donors were overlooked, and now there’s more focus on giving every patient the opportunity to be considered for organ donation," Dr Ihle said.
“Many processes have been implemented to help identify all potential donors during end of life treatment.”
The Alfred is outperforming the US, UK, France and Belgium with regards to the number of lung transplants.
“If The Alfred were a country, we would be ranked 2nd behind Austria for the number of lung transplants per million people,” said Prof. Snell.
Prof. Snell says transplant patients at The Alfred are living longer on average compared to the rest of the world, and he puts that down to the accumulated skills and knowledge of the transplant and anaesthetic teams and ICU staff.
“Looking to the future, we need to make sure that resources are available to handle the success of the transplant program. We have hundreds of survivors coming back to The Alfred for the rest of their lives for ongoing medical treatment because we have the expertise.”