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Heart transplant program reaches new record

Jan. 25, 2018, 9:46 AM


Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) performed a record number of heart transplants in 2017, surpassing the 2016 milestone and securing its place as the second-busiest heart transplant program in the country.

Ranked No. 1 in the Southeast region for volume for its combined adult and pediatric procedures, this marks the third year in a row that the Medical Center’s program held the national ranking.

In 2017, VUMC performed a record 83 adult heart transplants, compared to the previous year’s all-time high of 77.

The overall program, which includes pediatric cases, saw a record 97 total heart transplantations, topping the 2016 milestone of 92.

“Vanderbilt is pivoting to build a sustainable program that offers all options to patients — multivisceral transplant, ex vivo perfusion, advanced mechanical support and collaborative decision-making,” said Ashish Shah, MD, chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery.

“This is a complex enterprise with real implications for people and the public as a whole. It is critical to have a serious team of experts with all the right tools at their disposal to meet the needs of our community, our country and the world.”

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center’s adult heart transplant program began in 1985. It was followed by the opening of the pediatric program in 1987. It is one of 114 programs in the United States.

Since its inception, the program has seen tremendous growth.

In 2016, VUMC was listed among an elite group of transplant centers in the country that reached 1,000 heart transplantations.

“Our goal is to be an internationally recognized advanced heart disease center, because regionalizing advanced care in high-volume centers is the only rational way to advance the field, deliver high-quality care and to make sensible, resource decisions for our complex health system,” Shah said.

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