October 24, 2013

Transplant Center sees surge in volumes

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center, one of the largest organ transplant programs in the Southeast, is on pace to surpass last year’s transplant totals with 254 solid organ transplantations to date.

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center, one of the largest organ transplant programs in the Southeast, is on pace to surpass last year’s transplant totals with 254 solid organ transplantations to date.

Transplants for 2013 include: 78 liver, 125 kidney or kidney/pancreas, 35 heart and 16 lung. The center has experienced a 10 percent increase in the volume of life-saving transplants compared to the same period during 2012.

The overall increase in transplant volume will mean an additional 25 lives will be saved this year through organ transplantation. This number, of course, would not be possible without the generous support of families of deceased donors, or friends and family members who serve as living donors for many kidney transplants.

Transplant surgery
The Vanderbilt Transplant Center is on pace to surpass last year's transplant totals. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Founded in 1989, the Vanderbilt Transplant Center is the longest continuously running program in Tennessee and has been lauded for high percentages for one-year, five-year and long-term survival rates for organ transplant recipients.

“We are completely dedicated to providing the highest quality care to each of our patients,” said Seth Karp, M.D., the Transplant Center’s director. “Even with excellent outcomes, we constantly strive to review and improve every aspect of every program. It is our mission and our life’s work.”

Over the past three years, the Transplant Center has produced a one-year, post-transplant patient survival rate of 100 percent for heart transplant patients.

Vanderbilt is one of only two heart transplant programs in the country to receive this designation.
The Advanced Heart Failure Program continues to experience a significant increase in the number of adult and pediatric patients receiving mechanical circulatory support as a bridge to transplantation.

Under the direction of Simon Maltais, M.D., surgical director for the Adult Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Programs, this number is expected to continue to grow.
Liver transplant volumes in fiscal year 2013 saw an 11 percent increase. For the calendar year 2013, 78 livers have been transplanted. To date, Vanderbilt has performed more than 1,400 liver transplants, the largest number in Tennessee. The transplant rate from the waiting list is more than double the national average, which usually translates into safer operations performed prior to the development of major complications of liver disease.

Karp points to a new state-of-the-art transplant inpatient unit that opened in 2012, featuring spacious private rooms, on-floor diagnostic imaging, a short-stay area and treatment rooms that helped optimize patient care and quality standards.

Other highlights include:

• The Transplant Center helped restore health and well-being to more than 7,000 patients since performing Nashville’s first organ transplant (kidney) in 1962.

• As the largest heart transplant program in Tennessee, Vanderbilt has performed more than 700 heart transplants since the program began in 1985.

• During the last UNOS and Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) reporting period in 2012, the heart transplant program has seen a 100 percent survival rate.

• The Lung Transplant Program, one of the oldest in the country, was recognized as a Silver Level high performing program by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network and SRTR.

• Vanderbilt is credited with the first lung transplant in Tennessee in 1990 and for performing the Southeast’s first combined heart-lung transplant in 1987. More than 300 lung and 20 heart-lung transplants have been performed since the program’s inception.

• Since 2007, lung transplant recipients have experienced a 93 percent one-year survival rate, well above the expected survival rate of 83 percent.

• The Kidney Transplant program, one of the largest and oldest in the U.S., has performed more than 4,500 transplants.

• Increased kidney transplant volume in the kidney/pancreas program is accompanied by excellent outcomes with adult kidney transplant patients experiencing 95 percent success for maintaining appropriate kidney function at one year and 85 percent success at the three-year mark.

The Transplant Center provides integrated, multidisciplinary care for patients with organ failure, said Karp.

“Our team of surgeons, physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses, social workers, psychiatric services and pharmacists collaborate to offer patient-centered, state-of-the-art care. Our goal is to help every patient return to a full life without limitations.”