From left: Scott Johnson, M.D., associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery in the UTHSC-SA School of Medicine and surgical director of the lung transplant program for UT Medicine San Antonio; Earl Tomlin, 500th lung transplant patient; Daniel DeArmond, M.D., assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery in the UTHSC-SA School of Medicine and lung transplant surgeon for UT Medicine San Antonio; and Ian Makey, M.D., assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery and cardiothoracic surgeon for UT Medicine San Antonio.
University Transplant Center, a partnership between UT Health Science Center at San Antonio and University Health System, today celebrated a major milestone—its 500th lung transplant since 1987.
Dr. Luis Angel, director of the lung transplant program, gave welcoming remarks for a press conference that included an overview of the complexity of lung transplantation by Surgical Director Dr. Scott Johnson followed with talks by Dr. Debbie Levine, director of the pulmonology hypertension center; Dr. Daniel Dearmond, lung transplant surgeon; and Mr. Earl Tomlin, the 500th lung transplant patient.
The lung transplant program began under the leadership of the late Dr. J. Kent Trinkle, who performed the first lung transplant in South Texas in 1987, only four years after the approval of the first effective anti-rejection drug, cyclosporine, revolutionized the field of organ transplantation worldwide.
The San Antonio program quickly became known for its innovations in lung transplants, not only producing technical advances in the surgery itself, but broadening its uses. The first single lung transplant in the world to treat pulmonary hypertension was performed at the center, as was the first single lung transplant in North America to treat emphysema.