The data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) shows UC Health transplant program set a new record and marked the eighth consecutive year of growth.
UC Health’s University of Cincinnati Medical Center is home to Greater Cincinnati’s only comprehensive organ transplant program for adults. The program provides heart, kidney, liver and pancreas transplants and is considered a national leader in transplantation surgery and research.
“We are proud to provide this lifesaving care to those who need it most, and we are committed to expanding access to organ transplantation, but first and foremost we must thank our donors and donor families for the opportunity to provide the gift of life and help our patients,” said Shimul A. Shah, MD, section chief of solid organ transplantation for UC Health, and James and Catherine Orr Endowed Chair in Liver Transplantation and professor of surgery at the UC College of Medicine.
The number of liver and kidney transplants performed reached new heights in 2019, with 133 liver transplants and 178 kidney transplants, including 59 from living donors. The increase is due to improved outreach to referring physicians and rising rates of organ donation locally and nationally. The team also set a new record for living donor kidney transplants, which increased by 11% from 2018.
2019 was also a groundbreaking year for clinical research at UC Health: in April, Shah and his team performed the first liver transplant in the U.S. using a donor organ preserved through mobile cold perfusion.
The technology, long used to preserve donor kidneys, was piloted at UC Medical Center and other transplant centers across the nation with promising results. It circulates a specially-formulated solution through the donor organ prior to transplantation, rather than storing the donor organ on ice.
UC Health also expanded its network of transplant outreach clinics across Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana in July 2019, providing patients in other communities with improved access to pretransplant care from UC Health physicians and transplant nurses.
“The first kidney transplant was performed at UC Medical Center in 1967. More than 50 years later, we are proud to continue to innovate in the field of transplantation and to provide this lifesaving care to those who need it most,” Shah said.
Organ donation and transplantation are also on the rise nationally: in 2019, nearly 40,000 organ transplants were performed in the United States, setting an annual record for the seventh straight year, according to UNOS.