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Vanderbilt Transplant Center reached new record in 2021

Jan. 20, 2022, 2:21 PM


by Matt Batcheldor

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center (VTC) established a new record in calendar year 2021 for total solid organ transplants, performing 645 life-saving procedures among its adult and pediatric organ transplant programs. VTC is now the fifth largest transplant center by volume in the nation and is the world’s largest heart transplant center.

The 2021 total surpasses VTC’s previous record of 611 transplants in 2020. It also set records for two organ programs — 315 kidney transplants and 54 lung transplants.

“That even during a pandemic the transplant center was able to continue to serve patients is a testament to the selfless dedication of each member of the team,” said Seth Karp, MD, chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences, H. William Scott Jr. Professor and director of VTC.

In the Adult Transplant program, teams performed 301 kidney transplants, 11 simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants, 114 liver transplants, 124 heart transplants, 54 single- and double-lung transplants and one simultaneous transplant.

Pediatric transplant teams with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt performed 14 kidney transplants, nine liver transplants and 17 heart transplants.

“These remarkable results were achieved through the contributions of hundreds of individuals and their steadfast commitment to the opportunity for our patients to have a second chance at life,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “I want to express my appreciation and congratulate everyone involved in this outstanding year for our Transplant Center.”

VUMC has exceeded 10,000 total transplants of all organs since its first kidney transplant in 1962. Over the years, Vanderbilt has had a succession of firsts. VUMC performed its first heart transplant in 1985, the Southeast’s first combined heart/lung transplant in 1987, first liver transplant in 1991, and first single lung transplant in 1990. Vanderbilt completed its first successful double lung transplant in 1994, Tennessee’s first heart-lung-liver triple transplant in 2000, Tennessee’s first paired kidney exchange in 2004 and first combined heart-kidney in 2008.

Recent accomplishments include the first pediatric heart-kidney transplant in 2016 and first heart-liver in 2017.

Vanderbilt now serves more than 9,000 transplant patients, and it takes a highly specialized, multidisciplinary team of about 150 people to work on a single transplant. The transplant teams include physicians in each organ specialty, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists, intensivists, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social workers, financial coordinators, nutritionists, organ procurement coordinators, preservationists and operating room staff, among others.

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