Scott & White Hospital - Temple has performed the first lung transplant in Central Texas, and is evaluating patients for its next procedure. A Giddings, Texas man underwent the procedure in early October.

"This is a great milestone for Scott & White Healthcare, and for the patients of Central Texas," said Juan F. Sanchez, MD, medical director for the lung transplant program at Scott & White Healthcare. "At least two dozen patients have to leave Central Texas every year to receive a lung transplant. Now those patients have an opportunity to receive this life-restoring level of care close to home."

Scott & White is now the only lung transplant program between Dallas and San Antonio after receiving the designation in January 2012 from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national organization that oversees transplant programs. Each month 1600 people nationwide are on the waiting list for a lung transplant; the waiting list in Texas is 160 patients long.

"We are new; and we need to establish our program by performing 10 lung transplants in 12 months for Medicare approval," said Dr. Sanchez. "I believe the patients and their primary care physicians will be happy to have a lung transplant program near where they live."

Basar Sareyyupoglu, MD, was recruited by Scott & White Healthcare in 2011 to be the surgical director and make it possible to launch the lung transplant program. Dr. Sareyyupoglu was trained in transplant surgery at the prestigious University of Pittsburg Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

"Scott & White has a proud history of surgical excellence and leadership, where primary care physicians send patients to us for advanced levels of care," said Dr. Sareyyupoglu. "We are working with pulmonologists in the region to become a type of medical partner in helping their patients get the care they need to regain reasonably active lifestyles and productive careers."

Common causes that lead to a need for new lungs are diseases that make scar tissue accumulate in the lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.

"The ability to offer lung transplantation to our patients is amazing," said Heath White, D.O., a pulmonary medicine specialist at Scott & White. "In general, these patients have no treatment options left for their lungs. They are at risk of dying from their lung disease and most have limited quality of life because of this. Lung transplantation not only offers them a chance to live longer but it also gives them their quality of life back. The simple things we take for granted such as walking and going to the store, they may not have been able to do these things before, and transplantation offers them the opportunity to regain that quality of life and independence."

This new program raises the number of lung transplant programs in Texas to seven, with Scott & White being the only one outside of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Once approved for coverage by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as with other insurance providers, the Scott & White program is expected to perform 10 to 20 lung transplants a year.

"Establishing a lung transplant program fulfills our vision of a high-level transplant center in Central Texas. It is a common extension to our existing heart transplant program and program of mechanical asasist for failing heart and lungs," said Kenton Zehr, MD, director of Scott & White's division of cardiothoracic surgery. "The lung program is one more reason that Scott & White is the destination for care for patients from across this part of the country."

About Scott & White Healthcare ( )

Scott &White Healthcare is a non-profit collaborative health care system established in 1897 in Temple, Texas. Among the leading health systems encompassing one of the nation's largest multi-specialty group practices, Scott & White provides personalized, comprehensive health care enhanced by medical education and research. Scott & White Healthcare includes 12 hospital sites with two additional announced facilities, and 178 clinics at more than 65 clinic locations throughout Central Texas providing adult and pediatric care in 46 medical specialties. Integrated, high-quality care is delivered by a dedicated staff of more than 14,000 (including 1,000 physicians and scientists and more than 300 specialized health care providers.