UVM Medical Center

UVM Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital Team Up to Provide Swanton Man’s Heart Transplant

Learn about how the partnership between UVM Medical Center and Mass General Hospital helped provide a heart transplant for a Swanton, VT, resident.

Kevin D - heart patient

Kevin Daignault of Swanton, VT recently got a life-changing call in the middle of the night — after a long wait, a new heart had finally become available for him. Daignault hopped in the car immediately for a trip to Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital to have the transplant operation. Luckily for him, it was only the second time he’d had to make that drive because, due to a special partnership between the University of Vermont Medical Center and Massachusetts General, most of his pre-operative care happened in Vermont. 

The key figure in that partnership is Johannes Steiner, MD, an expert in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology who is on the staff of both hospitals, and has a joint appointment at The Larner College of Medicine at UVM and Harvard Medical School. 

Because there is a scarcity of hearts available in the U.S., Steiner says there’s a rigorous selection process requiring multiple clinical visits to determine who gets on the transplant list, all of which can take days or even months.

“Typically, hospitals that don’t perform heart transplants would transfer a patient with this kind of condition to a specialty center right away,” Steiner explained. “Patients would have to make trips to other hospitals and would be dealing with doctors they don’t know and the difficulties of travel. But because of our relationship with Massachusetts General, much of that care can happen here in Vermont and I can be the attending physician in Boston, which is what happened in Kevin’s case.”

Daignault had a successful procedure, which coincidentally was the 500th heart transplant Massachusetts General has performed.  He was walking after only seven days, and was discharged two weeks later.  He’s received much of his post-operative care back in Burlington.

Steiner is quick to point out the relationship between UVM Medical Center and Massachusetts General has an important benefit beyond coordinating transplant services.

“All UVM Medical Center cardiology trainees go to Mass General for a rotation, where they can learn about heart transplants, mechanical hearts and other procedures only a small number of hospitals in the U.S. are permitted to do­.”

About The University of Vermont Medical Center

The University of Vermont Medical Center is a 447-bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately one million residents in Vermont and northern New York.  Together with our partners at the UVM Larner College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center.  The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 
The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high-quality academic medicine to every community we serve.  Our partners are:

For more information visit our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog sites at UVMHealth.org/MedCenterSocialMedia.

About Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General or MGH) is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and a biomedical research facility located in the West End neighborhood of BostonMassachusetts.[5] It is the third oldest general hospital in the United States.[5] With Brigham and Women's Hospital, it is one of the two founding members of Partners HealthCare, the largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Hospital conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the world, with an annual research budget of more than $900 million. It is currently ranked as the #3 hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

Photo credit: Massachusetts General Hospital.