As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, Intermountain Healthcare’s abdominal transplant program has created new protocols and safety measures to ensure that these lifesaving procedures continue.

Although many nonessential planned surgeries and procedures have been delayed, recent guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identified organ transplants as procedures that should not be postponed if possible, categorizing them as “essential.”

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and continue patient care, Intermountain clinicians are using telemedicine and video visits whenever possible to continue evaluating and treating potential transplant patients.

Transplant clinicians have also put systems in place to maintain patient and caregiver safety.

“Donors and recipients are considered on a case-by-case basis,” said Diane Alonso, transplant surgeon and director of abdominal transplant surgery for Intermountain Healthcare. “It’s a balancing act. We take into account the risks of postponing surgery with the risks of not only the surgery, but also the risk of potentially being exposed to the virus.”

One Intermountain transplant recipient shared his experience in this article.