October 24, 2008

Kidney transplant results rank among nation’s best

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Hal Helderman, M.D.

Kidney transplant results rank among nation’s best

Vanderbilt University Medical Center's adult kidney transplant outcomes are significantly higher than the national average, according to the latest report of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).

Specifically, the three-year patient and graft survival outcomes have consistently outpaced other centers around the country.

“What we are pleased about is that our numbers are as high or good as any place in the country,” said Hal Helderman, M.D., medical director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center. “Our statistics are better than you would predict for the kinds of patients we treat. Our outcomes at three years are better than anywhere else, consistently, and that is uncommon.”

More importantly, the data are a representation of the solid work performed by the team of specialists at Vanderbilt, said Helderman, professor of Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology and chief of Renal Transplantation.

“Transplantation is a partnership of the organ retrieval program, the transplant surgeons, the tissue typing folks and the transplant nephrology service,” he said. “All of the pieces of the partnership work together to provide patients with superb outcomes at all points.

“These results show that all members of our team are applying cutting-edge transplant practices.”

Every six months, the SRTR releases program-specific reports on the activities of every transplant center and procurement agency in the nation. The SRTR supports ongoing evaluation of the scientific and clinical status of solid organ transplantation, including kidney, pancreas, liver, intestine, heart, lung and heart-lung. The group designs and implements scientific analyses of data and distributes the information to the transplant community.

These reports provide different measures of performance and characteristics related to solid organ transplantation, including wait list outcomes, post-transplant survival, and organ recovery and transplantation rates.

“Patient and graft survival are the main things that patients are looking at. Patients want to see how well people are managed in the long run. Reviewing the three-year post surgical outcomes is an important piece for them.”

A sample of the report of patients transplanted between January 2005 and June 2007 for one-year results, and those transplanted between July 2002 and December 2004 for three years shows:

• The one-year graft survival at Vanderbilt was 94.16 percent with an expected rate of 94.63 percent, while the national average was 92.56 percent.

• The three-year graft survival at Vanderbilt was 89.60 percent, and the expected rate of survival was 84.79 percent, well over the national average of 82.98 percent.

• The one-year patient survival at Vanderbilt was 97.50 percent with an expected rate of 97.84 percent. The national average was 96.23 percent.

• The three-year patient survival at Vanderbilt was 95.85 percent and the expected outcome was 92.54 percent. The national average was 90.85 percent.

“The fact that we do better than the predicted algorithm is very important,” Helderman said. “Very few centers can say that. We are doing a great job at providing long-term transplant care.”