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UPMC Completes 2,500th Cardiothoracic Transplant

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 1, 2010 – UPMC reached another milestone in the nearly 30-year history of its cardiothoracic transplant programs. After performing 2,500 cardiothoracic transplants – 1,200 heart transplants and 1,300 lung and heart-lung transplants – UPMC’s adult and pediatric cardiothoracic transplant programs are among the largest in the world.

“UPMC is one of the most experienced heart and lung transplant centers in the world and we are proud that our adult and pediatric cardiothoracic transplant programs have reached this milestone,” said Yoshiya Toyoda, M.D., Ph.D., director of cardiothoracic transplantation, UPMC Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute, and associate professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “At UPMC, our experience and clinical advancements allow us to care for patients with both conventional and unconventional transplant needs, such as complex cystic fibrosis and scleroderma.”

Among recent cardiothoracic transplantation innovations, UPMC surgeons developed the minimally invasive lung transplant procedure in 2007. Performed on most UPMC lung transplant recipients, this method preserves the breastbone and requires two small incisions on either side of the chest ultimately resulting in quicker recovery time and better quality of life for patients.

During each of the past four years, UPMC’s cardiothoracic transplant program has completed 100 or more lung and heart-lung transplants, making it one of the most active centers in the world.

The 2,500th procedure – a heart transplant on a 45-year-old man from western Pennsylvania – was performed by Christian Bermudez, M.D., associate director of heart and lung transplantation, UPMC Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute, and assistant professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is one of the world’s most active and innovative centers for pediatric heart and lung transplantation. Cardiothoracic surgeons have performed more than 370 pediatric heart and lung transplants. Children’s performed its first pediatric heart transplant in 1982; the world’s first pediatric heart-liver transplant in 1984; and the first successful pediatric heart-lung transplant in 1985.

Under the leadership of Victor Morell, M.D., chief  of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, Children’s has become one of the world’s most experienced centers in the use of ventricular assist devices (VADs) to support pediatric patients in heart failure awaiting transplant.

“We’ve been very successful in using VADs to keep young patients alive and healthy long enough for a donor heart to become available for transplant,” Dr. Morell said. “Children’s and several collaborators also have received funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop the first ever implantable heart pump for infants and small children, and we currently are testing our prototype. The development of a pediatric VAD for use here in the United States is crucial for the hundreds of children who suffer heart failure each year because of a congenital heart defect.”

For more information about organ transplantation at UPMC, visit

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