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Pledge the Gift of Life

Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014


AGH Cardiologist Appointed as UNOS Region II Thoracic Board Representative

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Raymond L. Benza, MD, Director of the Advanced Heart Failure, Transplantation, Mechanical Circulatory Support and Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Allegheny General Hospital’s Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute, has been elected to serve as the Region II Thoracic Board representative for the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)/United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). 

Dr. Benza will work with the Thoracic Board to evaluate appeals concerning organ allocation policies developed by OPTN. These policies are considered for final approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the Thoracic Board evaluates special exemptions for patients waiting for a heart or lung transplant.

A nationally recognized cardiologist and researcher who specializes in the treatment of heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, Dr. Benza is regarded as an international leader in the science of pharmacogenomics, exploring genetic regulation and mechanisms in cardiovascular diseases – including native and transplant atherosclerosis, heart failure and pulmonary vascular disease.

OPTN strives to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of organ sharing in the national system of organ allocation, as well as increase the supply of donated organs available for transplantation.

A private, nonprofit organization, UNOS coordinates the nation’s organ transplant system, providing vital services to meet the needs of men, women and children awaiting lifesaving organ transplants. UNOS members encompass every transplant hospital, tissue matching laboratory and organ procurement organization in the United States, as well as voluntary health and professional societies, ethicists, transplant patients and organ donor advocates.

Since performing its first heart transplant in 1987, AGH’s transplant program has become a regional leader in heart, kidney and pancreas transplantation. More recently, the hospital added both liver and lung transplantation to its scope of services for end stage organ disease.

Over the years, AGH surgeons have been pioneers in the field of transplantation. Among many milestones with the program include performing the region’s first FDA approved implant of a left ventricular assist device as a bridge to heart transplantation; the first bilateral adult kidney transplant, a procedure in which both kidneys from an older donor are used to restore renal function in a single recipient; and the first laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, where a live donor kidney is removed through small incisions using laparoscopic technology.

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