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The Cutting Edge - Teamwork - and determination

Cutting Edge Winter 2012

Teamwork - and determination

Date: January 1, 2012


Ashish Shah

Operations such as this one require a falling in place of circumstances that borders on the miraculous. Getting the patient on the transplant list, finding the right donor, getting through the surgery—it all requires more than able hands. Cases like Antara’s prove that, like it or not, success is left, at least in some degree, to chance.

But not entirely. This transplant could not have been successful without the interdisciplinary cooperation and hard work of multiple units—cardiac intensive care, medical intensive care, physical therapy, pulmonary care, nursing; They all played critical roles in making sure this operation was as safe and successful as possible. However, perhaps no one played a greater role in Antara Desai’s success than Antara Desai.

Throughout her time with us—both before and after the transplant—Antara demonstrated a level of strength and perseverance that was second to none. Those traits—coupled with her optimism and positivity—proved vital to
her recovery.

This is a very difficult, uncommon and dangerous surgery.
Hopkins performed its first heart-lung transplant in 1983, and since then, we’ve done only about
one per year. The risks are substantial: Long-term life expectancy is about 50 to 65 percent, and almost 20 percent of deaths occur in the first year.

Antara, however, made it. Of course, with all transplants come life-long surveillance and medications to prevent organ rejection. Without the surgery, however, Antara most certainly would have died. And, despite everything, she came through the surgery and left the hospital with her personality, her optimism and her spirit intact.

Ashish Shah

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