Heart transplant service remembers its first

Dr Robert Larbalestier, Rodney Western and Clare Fazackerley standing together in the corridor of Fiona Stanley Hospital
FSH Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation Dr Robert Larbalestier, transplant recipient Rodney Western and AHFCTS Nurse Practitioner Clare Fazackerley
March 17, 2017

The Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Service (AHFCTS) recently marked 22 years since the first heart transplant procedure was performed in Western Australia.

FSH Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation Dr Robert Larbalestier recalled there was a fair bit of pressure that day at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) to ensure everything went to plan.

“As with the first of everything, there was a lot of planning and work to get the first one done and ensure it was done well,” Dr Larbalestier said.

Heart transplant recipient Rodney Western said that eventful day on 20 February 1995 also happened to be on his 35th birthday.

“Having a second chance at life meant I was able to watch my kids grow up and even now enjoy the time with my grandchildren,” Mr Western said.

“The team has been magnificent - I just do what they say and have been able to live life to the full ever since.”

There have been 173 heart transplants performed in WA including 20 since the service moved to FSH in 2015.