Transplantation team conducts
ultimate recycling effort
The first lung transplant in the world to treat pulmonary hypertension, the first lung transplant in North America to treat emphysema, the first split-liver procedure in Texas…
the firsts, the accolades and the miracles attributed to transplantation surgeons at the Health Science Center are numerous.
Pioneering the Health Science Center’s transplantation effort was J. Kent Trinkle, MD, professor of surgery, when in 1986 he performed South Texas’ first heart transplant. The next year he performed San Antonio’s first heart/double-lung transplant.
Dr. Trinkle then performed the first lung transplant in North America to treat emphysema in 1988. Scarcely a month before this procedure, said Dr. Trinkle, a transplantation team in Paris, France, had performed the world’s first surgery of this type.
Dr. Trinkle went on to do the first lung transplant in the world to treat pulmonary hypertension in 1989.
His innovative spirit also led him to develop a new surgical technique for sewing the bronchial tube of the donor lung to the bronchial tube of the recipient, a technique called ‘telescoping,’ with one tube overlapping another. This technique solved the problems of rupture and narrowing of bronchial suture sites which formerly were the main causes of death in lung transplantation.
Beyond his transplantation efforts, Dr. Trinkle revolutionized medicine with his treatment of flail chest and lung contusions. In 1995 the 29-bed J. Kent Trinkle Center for Transplant Sciences at University Hospital was dedicated in his honor.
Also on the cardiothoracic team, John H. Calhoon, MD, professor of surgery and head of thoracic surgery, made headlines when he transplanted a new heart into a 17-day-old infant in 1991, making her the youngest person at that time to ever receive a transplant. In 1993 he repaired the defective aortic valve of a 2-day-old infant, the youngest at that time to ever have such a surgical repair.
Dr. Calhoon credits the success of the cardiothoracic team to Dr. Trinkle; Edward Y. Sako, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery; Scott B. Johnson, MD, clinical assistant professor of surgery; La Rhea A. Nichols, RN, assistant professor of surgery and chief administrator and clinical nurse coordinator of the transplantation programs; and O. LaWayne Miller, MD, chief of surgical service at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, a component of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.
Dr. Calhoon also credits several Health Science Center anesthesiologists and cardiologists including David R. Murray, MD, assistant professor of medicine; Stephanie M. Levine, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine; and Charles L. Bryan, MD, associate professor of medicine.
Liver transplants have been performed at the Health Science Center since the fall of 1992 when Glenn A. Halff, MD, director of the Health Science Center’s transplantation programs and associate professor of surgery, performed the first civilian liver transplant in San Antonio. Dr. Halff also is medical director of the Trinkle Center and a staff physician in the general surgery section at Audie Murphy.
In 1995 Robert M. Esterl, MD, assistant professor of surgery, performed the first kidney/pancreas transplant in a San Antonio civilian hospital.
In 1997 Dr. Halff, Francisco G. Cigarroa, MD, assistant professor of surgery, and Dr. Esterl were involved with the first split-liver procedures in South Texas, in which two patients benefited from a single donor liver.
That same year, the team, with Dr. Cigarroa’s pediatric expertise, performed South Texas’ first pediatric liver and kidney transplant.
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