The center will serve as a destination for adult and pediatric patients battling complex lung diseases

March 21, 2022 – The Miami Transplant Institute (MTI), an affiliation between Jackson Health System and UHealth – University of Miami Health System, is now home to a newly enhanced lung center for adult and pediatric patients with complex lung disease. The program combines experience, expertise, and a multidisciplinary medical approach to treating patients with complex lung diseases.

A destination center for advanced lung disease patients from across the U.S. and abroad, the center will be led by internationally renowned surgeon Tiago Machuca, MD, PhD. He joined MTI as director of the lung center, assistant director of global oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and professor of clinical surgery at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Prior to joining MTI in February 2022, Dr. Machuca was the chief of the division of thoracic surgery and an associate professor of surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He also served as director of adult ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and surgical director of the Lung Transplant Program at UF Shands Transplant Center.

In addition to Dr. Machuca, a second thoracic surgeon and two transplant pulmonologists will join MTI in the coming weeks, and recruitment is ongoing for additional members of the multi-specialty team. The new faculty will work with existing MTI teams to expand lung transplantation, robotic thoracic surgery and ECMO.

“Every one of MTI’s programs strives to provide the most advanced care to patients battling the most severe diseases of vital organ systems. We pride ourselves on finding ways to treat the most complex patients, bringing together technical skill, medical expertise, and compassion to achieve outcomes not possible anywhere else,” said Luke Preczewski, vice president, Miami Transplant Institute. “I cannot imagine a more natural fit for that spirit than Dr. Machuca and his team. Thanks to Miami’s unwavering support for Jackson Health System, we will be able to make sure MTI is the destination center for complex lung disease in Florida and beyond.”

In addition to lung transplants, the newly enhanced center will provide treatment options for complex lung diseases, which may require robotic thoracic surgery, thoracic oncology, ECMO, post-COVID lung therapy, lung volume reduction for emphysema, and more.

“Patients with complex lung disease often times have very limited therapeutic options and poor functional capacity,” said Dr. Machuca. “The lung center at MTI will focus on providing these patients with a second chance to prolong both quantity and quality of life.”

The new additions to MTI’s established robotic surgery program will give patients with some of the most complex thoracic cases access to a less invasive robotic approach, which allows more precision than traditional thoracoscopy. In addition to providing excellent surgical precision, robotic surgery reduces pain and recovery time from these surgical interventions. As part of this program, the newly enhanced team will launch a robotic bronchoscopy program at MTI as well, allowing assessment of lesions deep in the lungs that previously required more invasive evaluation.

“This program will create a one-stop shop that can handle the acuity in this patient population, including pre-surgery, post-surgery, and rehabilitation services,” said Dr. Rodrigo Vianna, UHealth transplant surgeon, director, Miami Transplant Institute and chief of liver, intestinal, and multivisceral transplant. “No matter how complex the case might be, these patients will now have access to specialized physicians and find the best treatment options under one roof.”

Jackson Memorial Hospital has been recognized as a leader in providing care to some of the sickest patients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these patients face long-term lung damage likely to necessitate lung transplant, and will be able to continue their care under the newly enhanced lung center.

MTI is one of the largest and most comprehensive transplant programs in the United States for both adults and children, with patients traveling from across the globe for every type of solid organ transplant. MTI is composed of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, physicians, nurses, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, advanced practice providers, bioengineers, as well as operating room, intensive care unit, inpatient, outpatient and rehabilitation staff.