Saint Thomas Health to relaunch heart transplant program

Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 17

NASHVILLE (AP) - Saint Thomas Health is expected to relaunch its heart transplant program that ended four years ago in the coming six months.

The health system's CEO Karen Springer told The Tennessean ( ) that they've been working for almost two years to assemble the program, including finding a surgical director, and applying to be an active heart transplant center.

The system, which had the first program in Tennessee to carry out the life-saving surgery, is renowned for its heart failure treatment.

It closed its program in 2011 following an internal review of the center and the disappearance of surgeon, Dr. William Coltharp, on a kayaking trip in Smithville.

There are at least 20 heart failure patients who could qualify for a transplant. Saint Thomas Heart cares for about 5,000 patients a year.