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Houston Methodist tops 500 transplants in 2019

Houston Methodist tops 500 transplants in 2019

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Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center performed 525 transplants in 2019, the most in the program’s more than 50-year history.

“We take on tough cases because we feel we have the expertise at all levels in the Transplant Center to give patients who are extremely sick a second chance at life” said A. Osama Gaber, M.D., director of the Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center. “We performed 251 kidney transplants and 151 liver transplants, the most we have ever done and our outcomes are excellent. We also performed the Transplant Center’s 8,000th transplant in December.”

The first, performed by Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. and George P. Noon, M.D. in 1968, was the world’s first multi-organ transplant that included a heart, lung and two kidneys from one donor.

Gaber attributes the Transplant Center’s record number of transplants to the increasing number of living kidney donors and technical innovations that have allowed them to consider people for transplant who would have been rejected 20 years ago.

“We have been able to transplant more liver patients because of our ongoing collaboration with other institutions in the Texas Medical Center,” said R. Mark Ghobrial, chief of liver transplantation and director of the Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation at Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center. “It takes the extreme dedication of the surgeons, nurses, coordinators and everyone else within the Transplant Center to give liver patients the new life they have been seeking.”

“We have gotten much better at managing patients with risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. and this has allowed us not only help patients survive a transplant, but thrive afterwards,” said Thomas E. MacGillivray, M.D., chief of cardiac surgery & thoracic transplant surgery at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. “We have also been successful performing multi-organ transplants. It used to be if you had liver disease you could not receive a heart transplant and that is just not the case today. In addition, we are now able to transplant patients with diseases like amyloidosis. This never would have happened 20 years ago.”

Gaber says the evaluation of living kidney donors has changed over the years and more older patients are now being considered. In fact, an 84-year old man became the world’s oldest living donor after giving his kidney to his 72-year old neighbor at Houston Methodist Hospital in 2019.

“We have one goal going forward,” Gaber said. “That is to save as many lives as possible.”

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