UT Southwestern ranks No.1 in the nation for lung transplant patients' survival one year after surgery

DALLAS — May 4, 2006 — UT Southwestern Medical Center's lung transplant program ranks No. 1 in the United States for one-year post-transplant survival of patients and the heart transplantation program is also among the nation's best, according to data compiled by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a scientific national registry of transplant recipients.

From Jan. 1, 2002, through June 30, 2004, UT Southwestern had the highest one-year survival rate for single-organ lung and heart transplants among medical centers that meet Medicare qualifications, or those performing at least 30 such transplants during the reporting period.

KRLD-AM radio 
report, click here to listen.

The UNOS data for UT Southwestern University Hospitals showed 36 heart transplants during the reporting period, with a 100 percent one-year survival rate. The national survival rate for that time period was 87.5 percent. Transplant specialists at UT Southwestern performed 39 lung transplants in the same time period, also with a 100 percent one-year survival rate. The national average for lung transplantations during that time frame was 83.6 percent.

The transplant program at UT Southwestern falls under the Heart, Lung and Vascular Clinical Center — a collaborative effort of doctors who specialize in all aspects of cardiovascular care, including pulmonary, vascular, imaging and transplantation medicine.

"This absolutely reaffirms the commitment of all of the people who are involved in making this one of the top programs in the country," said Dr. W. Steves Ring, chairman of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. "We've had a solid group of professionals for a very long time and a lot of top-notch people at UT Southwestern University Hospitals."

In the past 18 years, doctors at UT Southwestern have performed 330 heart transplants and almost 150 lung transplants. Patients' survival rates for both procedures have unfailingly ranked among the top 10 in the nation. The heart transplant program began in 1988, and the lung transplant program began in 1990.

Dr. John McConnell, executive vice president for health system affairs, said the data highlight the continuing excellence in clinical care for patients at the medical center.

"Historically, we have been known as a world-class cardiovascular research institution," Dr. McConnell said. "We also have outstanding clinical care provided by physicians at UT Southwestern, and that is typified by our heart and lung transplant outcomes. The type of research we do here positions us to pioneer patient-care techniques." 

UNOS is a private, nonprofit organization that operates the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, the nation's organ transplant waiting list and organ allocation system. All organ transplant programs and organ procurement organizations in the United States must be members of UNOS.

"We've consistently had heart-transplant survival in excess of 95 percent, so it's hard to get much better, which is why this was excellent news for us," said Dr. Ring. "Our lung transplant program has equally good results beyond the one-year survival range. National survival rates for lung transplants at the five-year mark are around 50 percent; ours are approximately 70 percent."

The five-year survival rate for heart transplant patients at UT Southwestern is 81 percent, compared with 68 percent nationally.

"I think these numbers are a credit to the multidisciplinary approach of doctors, nurses and transplant coordinators at the Heart, Lung and Vascular Clinical Center," said Dr. John Warner, director of the center and assistant professor of internal medicine. "We have a dedicated team of specialists who interact frequently in a very organized way and I think that leads to our excellence in this area."

The complete UNOS report is available online at www.UStransplant.org.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/transplants to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in transplants.


Media Contact: Katherine Morales
e-mail: katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu

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