Spectrum Health completes 100th lung, heart transplants in 4-day span

Holland woman receives heart transplant

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Spectrum Health’s Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Program reached two centennial milestones at the end of 2017.

The program's transplant teams completed the 100th heart and 100th lung transplants within four days of one another in December.

According to a press release from Spectrum Health, Ascenda Denton, 42, of Stevensville, Michigan, the lung recipient, and Elaine Slikkers, 62, of Holland, Michigan, the heart recipient, are both in good condition and are recovering at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital.

Slikkers is a 32-year veteran of Holland Public Safety and was added to the transplant list in August. She suffered a heart attack on Christmas Day 2013 and was diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis.

Denton was listed for transplant less than three weeks before the surgery. Denton suffers from cystic fibrosis.

Spectrum Health’s Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program was founded in 2010 and is the only program in the state to carry out combined heart/lung transplants in the past 18 years.

A surgical team led by Edward Murphy, MD, completed the minimally-invasive bilateral lung transplant on Dec. 24. Dr. Murphy was assisted by Andrew Sporte, RN, Jared Slenk, RN, and anesthesiologists, Andrew Baudo, MD, and Daniel Nadeau, MD.

The organ recovery team was led by Charles Willekes, MD, and included transplant call specialist Dennis Junga.

On Dec. 27, a surgical team led by Theodore Boeve, MD, and Marzia Leacche, MD, completed the program’s 100th heart transplant. They were assisted by Bethany Hammer, RN, Josh Smith, RN, and anesthesiologists Mark Wedder, DO, and Matthew Parlmer, DO.

The organ recovery team was led by Tomasz Timek, MD, who was assisted by Jeff Sutliff of Michigan Gift of Life, and included transplant call specialist Kari Hibbard.

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