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  • Avera Transplant Institute Performs 1,000th Transplant

Published on September 05, 2012

Avera Transplant Institute Performs 1,000th Transplant

Leading in Transplant Excellence


SIOUX FALLS (Sept. 5, 2012) – The Avera Transplant Institute is proud to announce  that its medical team has performed the 1,000th transplant at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls.

The total number of transplants includes bone marrow, kidney and pancreas transplants. “This is a significant milestone, marking experience and a proven track record in transplant,” said Beth Plahn, administrative director at the Avera Transplant Institute at Avera McKennan.

As the first and leading kidney transplant program in the Dakotas, the Avera Transplant Institute is among only 21 percent of kidney transplant programs to receive a 2010 governmental award for transplant outcomes, for shorter waitlist times than national norms, and survival on the waitlist and after transplant at national norms.

The kidney transplant program was established in 1993. Pancreas transplant was added to the solid organ transplant program in 2003, and is the only such program in South Dakota.

The Dakotas’ only bone marrow transplant program was started in 1996. It is fully accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) with three specialty transplant physicians in Sioux Falls. Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for cancers and disorders of the blood, such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome. Bone marrow transplant offers the highest overall disease-free survival rate by replacing malfunctioning, blood-forming cells found in the bone marrow.

Avera is currently home to the Dakotas’ only liver disease program. Patients needing liver transplant can obtain many services at Avera McKennan to prepare them for transplant, and follow-up during recovery.  Avera surgeons collaborate with another regional transplant center by rotating surgeons between programs and conducting joint care conferences. .  This provides depth in expertise and coverage, and increases care for liver patients closer to home.

Avera Transplant Institute takes a multidisciplinary approach. Plaza 3 is the new expanded home of Avera Transplant Institute’s comprehensive services for organ disease , including nephrology, liver disease, transplant and liver surgery, and endocrinology services. Bone marrow transplant is housed in the Prairie Center.

When referred to the Avera Transplant Institute, patients are immediately assigned to a transplant coordinator, who is with patients and their families at every step of the way throughout the transplant journey. Multidisciplinary weekly conferences ensure seamless care. Physicians specializing in transplant surgery, hematology, nephrology and hepatology comprise the medical team managing the patient’s underlying disease, as well as the transplant course. They are in consultation with pathologists, radiologists, infectious disease specialists, pharmacologists, and others who routinely collaborate with expertise in transplant care.

“The Avera Transplant Institute provides A-to-Z care in one single center,” said Dr. Tariq Khan, transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon with Avera Medical Group Transplant & Liver Surgery. “Right here in Sioux Falls, we offer an established program and experienced team with outcomes consistent with national standards.”

“Here in Sioux Falls people can get the very same level of care, right next door, or at least nearby home,” said Dr. Kelly McCaul, hematologist with Avera Medical Group Hematology & Bone Marrow Transplant. “We offer the same technology and expertise as bone marrow transplant programs in large metropolitan areas, yet we provide this care closer to home with the compassionate, personalized care that characterizes Avera.”

“We are extremely proud of our expert transplant team. Avera McKennan has made a significant and long-term investment in the health of South Dakotans by building a program where people can receive tertiary-level treatment they need, right here at home. We continue to build on this long-standing and successful commitment to transplant services,” Plahn said.

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