Three hundred eighty-one people received the gift of life in 2023 through UC Health’s nationally-ranked solid organ transplant program, setting yet another record year.
UC Health’s specialty and sub-specialty teams transplanted 407 organs through heart, liver, kidney and pancreas transplant surgeries performed at UC Medical Center. Some patients diagnosed with complex conditions underwent multiple transplant surgeries for different organs.
“The accomplished outcomes of our UC Health organ transplant program demonstrate the impact of blending innovation and compassionate care,” said Shimul A. Shah, MD, section chief of solid organ transplantation at UC Health, James and Catherine Orr Endowed Chair in Liver Transplantation, and professor of surgery at UC College of Medicine. “I am exceptionally proud of our team and providers, who remain dedicated to delivering lifesaving medical care for our patients. But most of all, we must thank our donors for providing the ultimate gift.”
UC Health’s record year included 181 liver transplants, a 24% increase from the prior year. Among 250 transplant centers in the U.S., the program ranks 12th by volume for liver transplants and has the highest transplant rate in the nation, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR). The SRTR used a statistical model comparing the number of expected transplants to the national average of donors with the same characteristics to name UC Health as the top program for transplant rates.
Experts from the program credit their success in earning the highest transplant rate in the U.S. to using cutting-edge techniques to expand existing donor pools.
One example is the use of machine perfusion in organ transplantation. Machine perfusion improves the viability of transplanted organs, even overcoming issues from cold static storage, such as the buildup of toxic waste products in the organ. In 2023, the UC Health transplant program used this technique in 57 liver transplant cases.