01:00 AM

For Third Year in a Row, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Sets Record for Most Heart Transplants Performed in a Year

Since 2010, Cedars-Sinai Has Led the Nation in Heart Transplantation

Contact: Sally Stewart | Email: sally.stewart@cshs.org

Los Angeles - April 12, 2016 — The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute completed 131 adult heart transplants and one adult heart-lung transplant in 2015, once again improving on its own achievement and setting a record for the most adult heart transplants performed in a year.

The annual transplant statistics were compiled by the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that manages the U.S. transplant system and collects data on every transplant performed in the nation.

Cedars-Sinai's 2015 total of 132 adult heart transplants surpassed records it set the two previous years.

In 2014, Cedars-Sinai surgeons performed 120 adult heart transplants and two adult heart-lung transplants. In 2013, Cedars-Sinai surgeons performed 117 adult heart transplants and two adult heart-lung transplants. Until then, the most adult heart transplants performed at a single medical center in one year was 98, a record set in 2005.

"The Cedars-Sinai Heart Transplant Program is the largest in the U.S. due to our outstanding outcomes, very effective local organ procurement organization and, perhaps most importantly, our innovative therapies, which make transplantation possible for more patients," said Jon Kobashigawa, MD, director of the Heart Transplant Program and the DSL/Thomas D. Gordon Chair in Heart Transplantation Medicine.

One of the most important innovations has been the development of special therapies to reduce the level of circulating antibodies in the blood of transplant patients, Kobashigawa said. Antibodies are proteins found in blood that are triggered by the body's immune system to attack foreign material and infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria. In a transplant patient, however, antibodies can cause the body to reject new organs.

Cedars-Sinai's development and use of antirejection therapies, such as new medicines and blood-cleansing procedures, has led to high success rates. The national average rejection rate is around 25 percent, Kobashigawa said. In comparison, the rejection rate at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is less than 15 percent.

Other key factors resulting in Cedars-Sinai's heart transplant success are the institute's commitment to battling heart failure and the development of new mechanical options such as the Total Artificial Heart and other circulatory assist devices, said Andrew S. Klein, MD, MBA, director of the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center and the Esther and Mark Schulman Chair of Surgery and Transplant Medicine.

In addition to leading the nation in heart transplants, Heart Institute surgeons have implanted more Total Artificial Heart devices than any other medical center. In 2015, 17 Cedars-Sinai patients received the Total Artificial Heart.

"Cedars-Sinai has recruited the personnel and committed the institutional resources to provide patients suffering from heart failure with the best options for treatment," Klein said. "As a result, Cedars-Sinai has seen dramatic growth in the volume of heart transplants performed as well as the number of patients benefiting from nontransplant strategies, such as the implantation of an artificial heart or a ventricular assist device, or stem cell therapy."

The new heart transplant statistics underscore Cedars-Sinai's tradition of expertise and innovation in heart care, dating back to the 1920s, when it installed the first electrocardiogram machine in Los Angeles. In the 1950s, Cedars-Sinai doctors were first to use thrombolytic enzymes to dissolve blood clots in the heart and were first to describe vasospastic angina syndrome, which causes patients at rest to experience cycles of chest pain caused by a narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart. In 1970, two Cedars-Sinai physicians invented the Swan-Ganz catheter, still used today to measure blood flow and heart pressure.

Senior leadership of the heart transplant team includes Fardad Esmailian, MD, surgical director of the institute's Heart Transplant Program; Francisco Arabia, MD, surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program; Lawrence Czer, MD, and Jignesh Patel, MD, PhD, medical co-directors of Heart Transplant; Michele Hamilton, MD, director of the Heart Failure Program; and Jaime Moriguchi, MD, medical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program.