Hospital to perform pediatric heart transplants

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City says it has received permission to begin performing pediatric heart transplants.

The Kansas City Star reports the hospital’s program recently was approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing. The nonprofit group oversees organ allocation and transplant programs for the federal government. More than 50 other programs nationwide perform heart transplants on patients under age 18.

Aliessa Barnes, the hospital’s heart transplantation specialist, says the Kansas City program will mean patients no longer have to travel to places like Denver and St. Louis for the surgery. Children’s Mercy was referring about six heart patients each year to those cities.

Barnes says she expects Children’s Mercy to perform five to seven heart transplants a year at first, with that number doubling in the future.