Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center - Houston, TX

Surgeons at Methodist Transplant Center Perform Rare Multi-Organ Transplant

From left: Dr. Mark Ghobrial, patient Tyrone Ivory, and nurse coordinator Karin Hoesel.
From left: Dr. Mark Ghobrial, patient Tyrone Ivory, and nurse coordinator Karin Hoesel.

October 2, 2008 - Surgeons at the Methodist Transplant Center performed a rare multi-organ transplant last week in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

A 48-year-old father of three and grandfather of eight from Katy returned home Friday after undergoing a simultaneous heart and liver transplant on Sept. 8. Tyrone Ivory said minor hurricane damage at his house and quickly restored electricity assisted in his quick release from the hospital.

"My wonderful wife guided the ship to make everything work between my transplant and preparing our home for the storm," he said. "My family was here with me as much as possible, but my priority was protecting our home."

Ivory, a former electronic engineer, has suffered from cardiomyopathy since he was about 23 years old, which led to liver failure several years later. In April, his physicians decided he needed a transplant, and placed him on the national waiting list. In the many days leading up to his transplant, Ivory was in an Intensive Care Unit at Houston Methodist for cardiac support.

"It's not often that a person would require both a heart and a liver transplant," said Dr. Guillermo Torre, medical director of heart transplant at the Methodist Transplant Center and Ivory's cardiologist. "But Houston Methodist has experience in this type of procedure, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to help people like Mr. Ivory."

In fact, six other patients have undergone heart-liver transplants at Houston Methodist since surgeons there performed Texas' first in 2004. Torre said this need is increasing across the U.S. as people live longer with heart failure, but are later diagnosed with secondary illnesses related to it.

Dr. Joe Galati, medical director of the Methodist Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation, believes the increasing incidence of liver disease in the U.S. over the next few years will lead to increasing numbers of composite-organ transplantations that include the liver.

"Mr. Ivory's surgery was performed in record time and was a great success," said Ghobrial, surgical director of Liver Center. I'm very proud of everyone involved, especially the nurses who provided phenomenal support to Mr. Ivory and his family."

In addition to Torre Galati, Ivory's care team included, Drs Brian Bruckner and Tom Aloia who removed the heart and liver from the donor and Drs. Matthias Loebe and Mark Ghobrial, who led the surgical teams in implantation of the dual organs. Both doctors were helped by two teams of anesthesia doctors and intensive care specialists along with pathologists, social workers, pharmacists, financial coordinators and dietitians.

Ivory said he feels better just 10 days after his transplant, and he looks forward to a life that does not revolve around sickness. Already, he said he feels like a whole new person.

"It's a tragedy that the person who donated his organs had to die," he said. "But I'm so thankful for his gift. It's a beautiful thing to save a life -- to pass life on. I'm going to take these new parts and honor them forever."