A hospital in New York City performed the world’s first HIV-positive to HIV-positive heart transplant.
The patient, a woman in her 60s, suffered from advanced heart failure and received the donation, along with a concurrent kidney transplant, in early spring from Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, according to a press release.
dr. Ulrich P. Jorde, of Montefiore’s Department of Cardiology and professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, called the procedure a “milestone in the history of organ donation.”
“Significant medical advances have enabled people living with HIV to control the disease to such an extent that they can now save the lives of other people living with this condition,” Jorde said in a statement.
The woman spent five weeks in the hospital recovering from the four-hour operation. She is being monitored by her transplant doctors in Montefiore.
It wasn’t until 2013 that the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act allowed people with the condition to donate their organs to an HIV-positive recipient.
Montefiore is one of 25 centers in the U.S. eligible to offer the procedure after it meets surgical benchmarks and outcomes established by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, according to the press release.
“This was a complicated case and a real multidisciplinary effort involving cardiology, surgery, nephrology, infectious diseases, critical care and immunology,” said Dr. Omar Saeed, the woman’s cardiologist.
“Making this option available to people living with HIV will expand the number of donors and allow more people, with or without HIV, to have faster access to a life-saving organ,” Saeed said. “To say we’re proud of what this means for our patients and the medical community at large is an understatement.”