Lung transplants once again unavailable in Tucson

2013-11-03T09:33:00Z 2013-11-03T09:56:30Z Lung transplants once again unavailable in TucsonStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 03, 2013 9:33 am  • 

The University of Arizona Medical Center's lung transplant program is once again on hiatus.

Officials with the department of surgery want to reactivate the program once another cardiothoracic surgeon is hired, UA Department of Surgery spokeswoman Jo Gellerman said last week.

The UA Medical Center is one of only two centers in Arizona that performs lung transplants. The other is St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. St. Joseph's in Phoenix has done 36 lung transplants so far this year, data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network shows. The UA Medical Center performed one this year and did two last year, the network says. In contrast, the hospital performed 26 lung transplants in 2011, the data shows.

"Lung and islet cell transplants are inactive but we are recruiting for surgeons in both programs," Gellerman wrote in an email.

Earlier this year, UA Medical Center officials announced Dr. Jesus Gomez-Abraham had been hired to revive the local lung transplant program. Lung transplants had been on hold since February 2012, after lung transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Moulton left Tucson for a job as chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

"We hope to reactivate once we hire another CT (cardiothoracic) surgeon," Gellerman wrote. "Dr. Abraham is still here but we are looking to hire another cardiothoracic surgeon to join the team."

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Arizona Daily Star health reporter Stephanie Innes brings you the latest health information. Contact her at

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