WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance performs state’s first dual-organ transplant

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nark Kumaravelan has gained a new perspective on the holiday season and a much greater appreciation for selfless acts of kindness and giving this year. The 48-year-old Fairmont resident received the gift of life last Thursday, Nov. 19, when the WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance, the state’s only multi-organ transplant program, performed West Virginia’s first dual-organ transplant at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. Kumaravelan received both a new heart and kidney from an unnamed donor. 

(From left to right) Marco Caccamo, D.O., dual-organ transplant recipient Nark Kumaravelan, and George Sokos, D.O.
(From left to right) Marco Caccamo, D.O., dual-organ transplant recipient Nark Kumaravelan, and George Sokos, D.O.

“I’m so grateful to the transplant team at WVU Medicine for their amazing work, and I’m most grateful to the donor and the donor’s family,” Kumaravelan said. “I know my life is being extended through the generosity and kindness of that person; I’ll honor that gift each and every day through my own acts of kindness.”

Kumaravelan had both chronic heart disease and kidney failure. His surgeons and care teams expect him to make a full recovery. 

“Nark’s doing great,” Michael Shullo, Pharm.D., associate vice president of transplant services at WVU Medicine, said. “He’s been a great patient, and all signs point to the transplants being a success.”

The delicate and complex transplants took nine-and-a-half hours to complete, with the transplant teams first transplanting the new heart, followed by the kidney. Between the two surgeries, Kumaravelan recovered briefly in an intensive care unit. 

The Transplant Alliance team is extensive with dedicated transplant professionals managing all aspects Kumaravelan’s care. Heart transplant surgeons Vinay Badhwar, M.D., and Jeremiah Hayanga, M.D., M.P.H., performed the heart transplant. Transplant cardiologists George Sokos, D.O., Marco Caccamo, D.O., and Christopher Bianco, D.O., provided pre- and post-operative cardiology care. Lynsey Biondi, M.D., and Roberto Lopez-Soltis, M.D., performed the kidney transplant with transplant nephrologists Dinesh Kannabhiran, M.D., and Vishy Chaudhary, M.D., providing pre- and post-operative kidney care.

“Our commitment to West Virginia is to continue to expand complex services such as this to ensure West Virginians across the state have quick and easy access to the most advanced specialty care,” Albert L. Wright, Jr, president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “We want every West Virginian to know we are here for them and ready to provide them the most complex care they might need.”

West Virginia has one of the highest rates of kidney failure in the country, and heart disease and kidney disease are among the leading causes of death for West Virginians. Within that context, WVU Medicine set out to establish the state’s first and only multi-organ transplant center, the WVU Transplant Alliance, which today serves people from across the state and broader region.

About the West Virginia University Health System 
The West Virginia University Health System, West Virginia’s largest health system and largest private employer, is comprised of 12 hospitals – its flagship hospital, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and Fairmont Medical Center in Fairmont; Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg; Braxton County Memorial Hospital in Gassaway; Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg; Jackson General Hospital in Ripley; Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson; Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser; Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale; St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon; Summersville Regional Medical Center in Summersville; United Hospital Center in Bridgeport; and Wetzel County Hospital in New Martinsville. It also provides management services to Barnesville Hospital in Barnesville, Ohio; Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Maryland; Harrison Community Hospital in Cadiz, Ohio; Highland-Clarksburg Hospital in Clarksburg; Uniontown Hospital in Uniontown, Pennsylvania; and Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling. The WVU Health System also includes five institutes – the WVU Cancer Institute, the WVU Critical Care and Trauma Institute, the WVU Eye Institute, the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, and the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. For more information, visit WVUMedicine.org.