Pickerington Resident Undergoes First Lung Transplant at Columbus Children's Hospital

July 19, 2005

The first lung transplant at Columbus Children’s Hospital occurred Monday, July 11, 2005 when twenty-three-year-old Emily DeArdo of Pickerington, Ohio, received two lungs.

Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at 11 years of age, DeArdo has been cared for since then at the CF Foundation-accredited Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Center by Chief of Pulmonary Medicine Karen McCoy, MD.  DeArdo graduated from Capital University in Columbus and works fulltime at the Statehouse.

DeArdo was placed on the list for a double lung transplant May 31, 2005, with the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS).  Finding a suitable match for DeArdo was especially challenging due to her rare AB-positive blood type and the need for small adult lungs.  A match was located late the night of July 10 and DeArdo arrived at Columbus Children’s the morning of July 11 to prepare for transplant surgery.  Columbus Children’s Cardiothoracic Surgeon Terry Davis, MD, began the transplant operation in preparation for the arrival of Children’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Chief Mark Galantowicz, MD, who had gone to procure the donor lungs from another state.

Children’s transplant pulmonologist, Todd Astor, MD, removed DeArdo from the ventilator Tuesday, July 12, and heard her first post-surgery comment:  “This feels wonderful!”  She remained in the intensive care unit until Monday, July 18, when she was moved to the Heart Center inpatient unit where she will remain in reverse isolation for her protection until her hospital discharge.

The Lung Transplant Program at Columbus Children’s is headed by Astor as medical director and Galantowicz as surgical director.  Astor has previous lung transplantation experience with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine Lung Transplant Program.    Galantowicz previously served as director of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation at the Children’s Heart Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. 

Galantowicz and Astor are also members of the full-time faculty of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.  

CF is an inherited disorder of epithelial gland secretion which affects the respiratory and digestive systems as well as sweat and salivary glands.  In the lungs, the disease results in infection, which ultimately destroys the organs.  Bilateral lung transplantation is the course of action when patients are no longer responsive to medical therapy.  Ohio is the fifth largest state in terms of CF population and the Columbus Children’s Hospital CF Center staff currently care for 375 patients.

The Columbus Children’s Lung Transplant Program was certified earlier this year by UNOS and the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services and accepted into the Ohio Solid Organ Transplant Consortium. The Transplant Program at Children’s is comprised of Lung Transplant, Heart Transplant, Heart-Lung Transplant, and Blood and Marrow Transplant.



Todd Astor, MD, is medical director of the Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Programs at Columbus Children’s Hospital. He is also Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.   He was recruited in July 2004 from the Lung Transplant Program and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and critical care medicine, and is a United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) certified lung transplant pulmonologist. Astor’s research interests concentrate on the diagnosis and treatment of allograft rejection in lung transplant recipients. He currently is studying the mechanisms by which respiratory viruses may trigger rejection in patients who have undergone lung transplantation.

Mark Galantowicz, MD, is the co-director of Columbus Children's Heart Center, chief of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and surgical director of the Heart Transplant, Lung Transplant and Heart-Lung Transplant program at Children’s.  He is also an associate professor of Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Galantowicz was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct molecular biology experiments at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and completed his surgical training including a fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery and Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He has a special interest in the surgical repair of newborns with heart disease as well as cardiopulmonary transplantation. His research interests focus on the development of innovative, less-invasive strategies for the management of congenital heart disease.

J. Terrance Davis, MD, is a member of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s Hospital and a professor of Clinical Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.  His current clinical interests include general thoracic surgery and chest wall deformities.  Beside the common deformities such as pectus excavatum and carinatum, he is internationally recognized for his work related to the Jeune’s Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy.  He is also active administratively and has held the post of chief surgical officer and administrative surgical director at Columbus Children’s Hospital since 1997.  He sits on the Promotion and Tenure Committee of The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.  He has a long-standing interest in mission work in Central and South America as well Africa.

Karen S. McCoy, MD, is the chief of the Section of Pulmonology at Columbus Children's Hospital and the chief of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology and associate professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.  Her clinical interests focus on managing patients of all ages with cystic fibrosis (CF) and pediatric asthma.  Her research interests revolve around clinical outcomes and trials in cystic fibrosis and asthma.  She is the principal investigator for the CF Therapeutic Development Center and the Asthma Clinical Research Center.   She is the director for the CF Center and the fellowship training program in Pediatric Pulmonology at Children's Hospital.  She is conducting a large community-based project to enhance asthma care among pediatric and family practice offices. 

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.