NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for September, 2015

Transplant Operations at UPMC to Resume Effective Immediately


Organ transplant operations now will resume at UPMC.

This decision was made based upon extensive internal and external review of procedures and treatments. The lift of the voluntary suspension is effective immediately.

“We are grateful for the careful scrutiny, review and for the expertise and support of our colleagues. We have patients being transferred now from southern and central Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia for life-saving organ transplants to be performed at UPMC,” said Steven D. Shapiro, M.D., chief medical and scientific officer.

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UPMC Provides Update on Fungal Infections at UPMC Presbyterian, Montefiore

First, the lung transplant patient who was discovered to have a fungal infection earlier this month continues to fight the infection at UPMC Presbyterian hospital. His condition can be described as ‘guarded.’Presby1

We are still awaiting the results of mold cultures on samples we’ve performed in various locations throughout UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore hospitals. These include air, surface and water samples.

It is important to remember that our visitors, staff and the vast majority of our patients are not at risk. The mold that causes these types of infections is common in the environment and does not cause a problem for anyone but those with the most severely compromised immune systems. Among transplant patients with suppressed immune systems these fungal infections are rare, but occur at most major transplant centers without any discernable source. (more…)

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UPMC Working to Find, Fix Source of Mold Infection

Presby1Patient safety is our guiding principle at UPMC. The loss of any patient is therefore a cause of grief and sadness.

Thursday night, September 17, 2015, a UPMC liver transplant patient died at UPMC Montefiore. This patient had a rash that appeared to be fungal. Preliminary testing indicates that this infection is consistent with that in the three previous patients. UPDATE: Testing confirmed it to be lichtheimia.

The mold that causes infections like this is common in the environment and is not a risk to anyone except those who are most severely immunocompromised. Among transplant patients such infections are rare, but do occur from time-to-time without any discernable source. (more…)

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Heritage Place Residents Enjoy 7th Annual Summer Carnival

Music played, the barbecue sizzled, and balloons blew in the breeze as residents of Heritage Place enjoyed the seventh annual summer carnival, held outside under a brightly decorated tent on August 26. The carnival is the biggest event of the year for Heritage Place, a UPMC Senior Community located in Squirrel Hill that specializes in skilled nursing. Event organizers, staff, and volunteers go out of their way to make sure residents have a wonderful time. (more…)

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UPMC Presbyterian Closes Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, Investigates Mold

Presby1Within the past two weeks, UPMC Presbyterian has closed a cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU) and moved 18 patients because of the discovery of mold in some parts of the unit. As we’ve previously reported, one of those current patients is seriously ill with a fungal infection called rhizopus.

Thanks to the diligent and continuing efforts of our physicians, our infection control team, our nurses, our facilities staff and many others, we now have a clearer picture to share. A careful and methodical review of our records and analysis of the fungus show that two previous transplant patients who stayed in the same room on that unit had fungal infections that may have been related to this mold: one in October 2014 had lichtheimia and one in June 2015 had rhizomucor. Unfortunately, those patients subsequently passed away. Although the role that the mold may have played in their deaths cannot be definitively determined, we have notified their families of the suspected link to the mold in our CTICU. Transparency with patients is one of our guiding principles, and we are very sorry for the loss of these loved ones. (more…)

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