Stanford welcomes a Ukrainian heart-lung transplant team for a 1-week observership

Help Ukraine Group (HUG) had an honor and a pleasure to participate in welcoming a team of Ukrainian doctors from the Heart Institute in Kyiv who performed the first in Ukraine heart-lung transplant on October 25th, 2023. Five Ukrainian transplant specialists arrived to Stanford Heart-Lung and Lung Transplant department for 1 week observership 10/28/23-11/5/23:

  • Dr. Borys Todurov – Cardiac Surgeon, Director of the Heart Institute of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine
  • Dr. Sofiia Chaikovska – Cardiac Surgeon
  • Dr. Serhii Sudakevych – Perfusionist, ECMO Specialist
  • Dr. Igor Kuzmych – Intensivist
  • Dr. Mykola Melnyk – Anesthesiologist

The team was able to observe the patient care after a complex heart-lung transplant, participate in lung transplant harvesting by flying to Texas and Nebraska, and observe heart and lung transplant surgeries. Their next stop in observership is in Vanderbilt Transplant Center in Nashville for 2 weeks. The team hopes to start performing lung transplants in Ukraine by the end of the year using the knowledge acquired abroad.

Sofiia Chaikovska, a cardiac surgeon from the Heart Institute commented: “Since its inception, the Stanford Hospital has been considered a “trend-setter” in world of medicine. It was a big dream for us to visit Stanford as it was in these walls that Dr. Norman Shumway created the technique of heart transplantation in the 1960s and experimentally proved that heart transplantation is feasible. Surgeons from all over the world came to Stanford to learn transplantation, and South-African cardiac surgeon, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, after such a visit, dared to perform the first-ever heart transplant in Cape Town, using the surgical technique developed by Dr. Shumway. A month after this event, Dr. Norman Shumway managed to perform the first heart transplant in the United States. 

During the week, our team participated in 5 lung and heart transplants: we flew to different states of America, where we participated in multi-organ organ harvesting and had the opportunity to master the use of Transmedics lung and heart perfusion machines, studied the details of organ implantation. On the first day in the ICU, we met a patient who had just undergone a heart-lung transplant, so it was a great pleasure for us to observe his post-operative treatment for a whole week. Undoubtedly, we will implement the acquired knowledge in the treatment of our patients for the flourishing of transplantology in Ukraine.”

Many thanks to everyone for making it possible at Stanford: Christine Tiu Hartley, Gundeep Dhillon, Xiao Xiao, Nataliya Kovalchuk, and the whole Stanford Heart-Lung and Lung Transplant team. And loads of gratitude to Dr. Todurov, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, Viktor Liashko, Oksana Dmytrieva, Vasyl Strilka, Arman Kacharan, and Rostyslav Semikov with Peace and Development Foundation for organizing and facilitating their visit.