Health

Jewish Hospital will keep its heart transplant program, KentuckyOne Health and the University of Louisville Hospital announced Friday afternoon.

Jewish Hospital announced in late July that it was suspending the program that had 32 patients on the heart transplant waiting list. The move to keep it comes about a week after the University of Louisville said it is buying the financially failing downtown hospital with state help.

“UofL has assured us it is committed to the heart transplant program,” Deborah Lee-Eddie, Interim CEO of KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market, said in a press release. “As part of the transition planning U of L is working on strategies to increase volume for the heart transplant program.”

U of L Physicians Cardiologist Ken Dulnuan has been appointed as the medical director for the heart transplant program.

U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said the program is too important for the community and the university to have it go away.

“We thank KentuckyOne for working with us to maintain the program,” Bendapudi said in the release. “We are taking steps to shore up our efforts, and very soon we will have a plan in place to ensure the viability of the program for the future.”

The hospital’s relatively small program is more than 35 years old. Last year, it performed 10 heart transplants. As a comparison, the University of Kentucky Hospital performed the procedure for 29 patients in 2018.

When Jewish Hospital said it was putting the program on hiatus in July, it attributed the move to a change in how hearts are distributed across the country that had resulted in fewer heart donations allocated to the hospital.

A representative from KentuckyOne wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter.