Sutter Health Celebrates 200th Heart Transplant in Sacramento
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Larry Rowden, 52, of Fresno, had suffered with congestive heart failure for years and was being kept alive by a portable heart pump called a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, but this wasn’t a permanent solution. What he needed was a new heart. He was listed for a heart transplant at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, which is the only heart transplant center in Northern California outside of the Bay Area.
On Valentine’s Day, Larry was pondering how great it would be to receive a heart transplant during Valentine’s month. He was given a beeper to alert him when a new heart was available. He called it himself on Valentine’s Day, just to make sure it was working, hoping it would go off soon.
Larry didn’t have to wait long. The pager went off the night of Feb. 15, and on Feb. 16 he received a new heart. He now has a new lease on life, with energy he hasn’t felt in years.
Larry became the 200th heart transplant patient at Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute, which is headquartered at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The first heart transplant in Sacramento happened at the Sutter Health medical center in 1989, and since then 199 others have received new hearts.
The program in the state’s capital city has quality outcomes that are some of the best in the nation. Because of the necessity for regular post-surgery clinic visits, often patients move to the city where they received their transplant. By having a heart transplant program, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento offers the most comprehensive cardiovascular services in the greater Sacramento region, so patients can receive the right care in their hometown.
During a celebration on Friday, March 2, Larry spoke to media about his journey, as did John Chin, M.D., the medical director of the Heart Transplant Program, and Robert Kincade, M.D., surgical director of the program. Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute’s Dr. Chin, Transplant Coordinator Peggy Kearney-Hoffman and surgeon Mike Ingram, M.D., have been part of the program since the first transplant.