Newark Beth Israel Medical Center's (NBIMC) Heart Failure Treatment and Transplant Program is one of only two sites in the nation to achieve better than expected 3-year heart transplant survival rates for 2004 through 2007. The data, released earlier this month, based on the national Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients evaluation of all 106 heart transplant centers across the U.S., reflects not only the quality of Newark Beth Israel's program but its ongoing long-term efforts ensure that transplant recipients lead long and productive lives.

"Newark Beth Israel, one of U.S. News and World Report's top 50 Heart Hospitals, is well known locally and nationally as a regional referral center that cares for the most seriously ill patients and consistently achieves excellent survival rates that meet or surpass all national benchmarks," said Mark J, Zucker, MD, JD, who has directed the Heart Failure Treatment and Transplant Program for more than 20 years.

In addition to its outstanding patient outcomes, the Heart Transplant Program has ranked among the nation's most active centers by volume for the last five years. This year, alone, the program has already performed 30 transplants. Moreover, as compared to other heart transplant programs in the Northeast, the waiting time at Newark Beth Israel is among the shortest.

"The data is pretty compelling. When all factors are taken into consideration, no other program matches our success," said Dr. Zucker. "It is fairly simple. If a heart recipient does well during the first three years, the likelihood of long-term good health is excellent. In fact, transplant recipients today can anticipate survival in excess of 12 to 13 years. This is a remarkable achievement when one realizes that without transplant survival for patients with end-stage heart failure is less than two to three years, on average."

The program's outstanding reputation has made it a principle site for groundbreaking clinical research. Transplant physicians from around the world are monitoring with great interest the results of a unique clinical trial being conducted at NBIMC by David A. Baran, MD, Director of Heart Failure and Transplant Research in which transplant recipients are maintained on a single drug - minimized immunosuppression protocol.

For more than 20 years, the program has offered the latest generation of mechanical assist devices as either a bridge to transplantation or as destination therapy when transplantation is not an option. As a regional and national ventricular assist device (VAD) training center, virtually all FDA-approved and investigational VADs are available at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Margarita Camacho, MD, Surgical Director of Cardiac Transplant and Mechanical Assist Devices has been implanting the devices for 15 years and is spearheading simulated computer VAD training with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Dr. Zucker credits the cohesive multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac nurse practitioners, transplant coordinators, registered nurses, cardiac exercise physiologists, social workers, a transplant pharmacist and registered dieticians. "Our exceptional approach to patient care and immunosuppression has produced durable and robust benefits for our patients," he said.