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Ascension St. Vincent celebrating 700th heart transplant

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Posted at 12:28 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 19:20:34-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Care givers at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital are celebrating after performing heart transplants on 700 Hoosier patients.

Dr. Sunit-preet Chaudhry, an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist, said the milestone marks the number of patients and families who've been given new hope and a longer life together.

"Every heart is a reason to celebrate," Chaudhry said. "We’re allowing them to get back and be able to accomplish things that they may not have ever had the opportunity to do."

Lisa Evans from Carmel is Ascension St. Vincent's 700th transplant patient, hospital spokeswoman Brenna Ford said. Evans suffered with heart problems for more than 20 years when she was hospitalized in intensive care late last year.

Evans was placed on the transplant list on Dec. 9, Ford said. She received her new heart the next day.

"I’m a walking miracle," Evans said in a written statement released by Ascension St. Vincent. "I honestly feel like I got wonderful, wonderful care. And I have a new birthday. I’m changing my birthday to the 10th of December."

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Ascension St. Vincent Hospital performed its 700th heart transplant on Linda Evans (pictured left with her grandchildren) in December. The hospital's first transplant recipient was Doris Chisko (pictured right with her husband), who received her new heart on March 23,1987.

Ascension St. Vincent performed its first heart transplant March 23, 1987, on then 49-year-old Doris Chisko. Her family said she lived for 13 more years thanks to that new heart.

"We feel very blessed. It was scary for us, but we feel very blessed to do it and then got 13 more years with Mom," Chisko’s daughter Lisa Shellcrosslee said in a statement. "God has given the staff and the doctors at Ascension St. Vincent a gift to save other people’s lives and give them more time with their family members."

February is American Heart Month and Ford said Ascension St. Vincent providers are urging Hoosiers to prioritize their heart health, schedule a check-up with a healthcare provider, and stay up to date on regular screenings.

"You can be the healthiest person in the world, you can be running marathons and half-marathons and you can still be at risk for heart attack," Chaudhry said.

"Having good relationships and long term follow-up with doctors and clinicians and physicians assistants and nurse practitioners will help us prevent. I think prevention is key."

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Ascension St. Vincent Heart Center, 10580 N.Meridian St., Carmel.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on X/Twitter: @vicryc.