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Team performs first heart transplant in years

JACKSON — According to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), its pediatric heart transplant team has performed the first heart transplant in eight years on 13-year-old Malcolm Jones of Winona.

Jones underwent surgery Sept. 18 at Batson Children’s Hospital. He is listed in fair condition.

The pediatric heart transplant program had become inactive due to a gradual loss of the highly specialized team members needed to perform these complex surgeries. The last pediatric heart transplant was performed in 2003 by Dr. Giorgio Aru, professor of surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The reactivation of the program has been led by the congenital heart surgery team, which was re-established with the recruitment of Dr. Jorge Salazar, associate professor of surgery and chief of the congenital heart program, in April 2010. Prior to that, patients needing heart surgery were transferred out of the state. Since his arrival, more than 400 pediatric heart surgeries have been performed at the Medical Center and no patients have been sent out of the state.

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