For lung disease patients, UF Health already provides a host of advantages — minimally invasive robotic surgery, artificial lung technology, a new ICU and flourishing adult and pediatric lung transplant programs.
Yet there’s another factor that makes all of the technology and medical skill come together: teamwork. Anna Michelle Brandt, associate vice president of operations for UF Health Shands Hospital, sees this collaboration every day among the UF Health Advanced Lung Disease Program’s physicians, nurses, artificial-lung specialists and other staff.
The program offers an array of technology and treatments to help patients with conditions from cancer to end-stage lung disease. Brandt notes exceptional outcomes for patients recovering from injury or awaiting a transplant.
This summer, a new thoracic and vascular intensive care unit opened in the UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital. For patients, it offers advantages over a general ICU, such as being able to walk around while receiving artificial lung support or get out of bed the day after a lung transplant.
Likewise, the lung program continues to grow in stature and volume. UF Health ranks first in Florida and 13th nationally in transplant volume. First-year patient survival has jumped to 92.4 percent from 74.3 percent in 2014. Among 12 lung programs in 10 Southeastern states, UF Health surgeons performed the second-most transplants and had the second-lowest mortality rate among adults awaiting a transplant between July 2015 and June 2017.
“There is great skill among our practitioners, but it doesn’t rest on that alone. It’s the team approach that makes a successful difference,” Brandt said.
For UF College of Medicine thoracic surgeon Tiago Machuca, M.D., Ph.D., the team concept centers on a multidisciplinary group of physicians with the expertise to treat an array of lung disorders. Machuca said the outstanding outcomes with lung transplants are satisfying, but so is another aspect: patients’ peace of mind.
He said, “We want to provide stellar care for patients with complex lung diseases that cannot be dealt with elsewhere.”