UK sets record for most heart transplants in a year

The University of Kentucky Transplant Center recently performed its 38th adult heart transplant for 2015 and set a record for the most heart transplants performed by a Kentucky medical center in a single year, according to a UKnews release.

“This has truly been a banner year for the UK Transplant Center and the UK Gill Heart Institute,” Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, medical director of heart transplantation at UK HealthCare, said in the release. “Never before has a transplant center in Kentucky performed more than 30 heart transplants in one year. Our outcomes remain good, a testament to the strong team we have assembled at the University of Kentucky.”

The previous state record was 27 heart transplants performed in a single year. Historically, only 20-25 medical centers in the country perform more than 30 heart transplants in a single year, says the release.

Transplants are a team effort that begins with the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, who work “tirelessly” to encourage more Kentuckians to sign up, enabling more patients to receive the gift of life.

UK HealthCare’s surgical transplant team, in conjunction with UK Gill Heart Institute’s Advanced Heart Failure Program, offers a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to treating heart disease.

For example, some heart disease patients get what is called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) for long-term, permanent support and some patients with advanced heart failure will receive a ventricular assist support device to serve as a “bridge” to transplant, enabling them to be more mobile and thus healthier and stronger, while they wait for a matching donor heart to become available. UK has implanted 29 durable LVADs this calendar year.

“Our program fulfills a need in Kentucky for many patients who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to receive a life-saving transplant,” Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs, said in the release. “The commitment UK HealthCare has made to the program over the years has made a difference in the lives of many patients and their families and exemplifies the complex advanced subspecialty care it is important for our academic medical center to provide.”

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