Celebrating 40 Years as Transplant Pioneers | UPMC

40 Years of Transplant Excellence

UPMC is celebrating 40 years of transplant leadership. Established in 1981, UPMC has performed more than 20,000 organ transplants including liver, kidney, pancreas, small bowel, heart, lung, double-lung, single-lung, and multiple-organ transplants. As a pioneer in solid-organ transplantation, our program has been challenged with some of the most difficult and complex cases. This year, we are recognizing everyone who has made 40 years of transplant possible.

Transplant Milestones

  • 1964: Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh performed its first pediatric kidney transplant.
  • 1981: Thomas E. Starzl, MD, joined UPMC and led the team that performed Pittsburgh’s first liver transplant.
  • 1984: World’s first heart-liver transplant at Children’s.
  • 1989: World’s first heart-liver-kidney transplant performed at UPMC.
  • 1996: Children’s created the nation’s first pediatric intestinal care center.
  • 1997: Children’s performed the first living-donor liver transplant.
  • 2008: UPMC performed its 500th intestinal transplant.
  • 2010: Children’s performed the world’s first pediatric ventricular assist device transported by air for a child in heart failure.
  • 2011: UPMC completed 3,000th cardiothoracic transplant.
  • 2011: Children’s performed its first hepatocyte transplant.
  • 2013: UPMC surgeons performed the nation’s first female double-hand transplant.
  • 2020: UPMC performed more than 103 living-donor liver transplants (91 adult, 12 pediatric).

UPMC Expansion

Today, UPMC is one of the oldest and largest transplant programs in the country and we are committed to improving the field of transplant. That is why we have expanded our program to offer life-saving transplant care in Pittsburgh, Erie, and Central, Pa., as well as transplant evaluations in North Central, Pa.

Why Choose UPMC

At UPMC, we are dedicated to providing patients with step-by-step support during the entire course of their transplant process, while also educating them about the benefits of organ donation. Our program is comprised of experienced transplant surgeons and nephrologists, as well as a support team that includes transplant coordinators, social workers, financial/insurance coordinators, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and dietitians.

Join us this year as we celebrate the past, present, and future of transplantation at UPMC.

Meet Autumn, Tammy, Chuck, and Virginia

Learn about the lifesaving impact organ donors can make.

Autumn Pillman

Autumn Pillman — Biliary Atresia

Autumn was fighting for her life after being diagnosed with biliary atresia. Her father jumped at the opportunity to be the living donor. Read about their experience at UPMC Children’s.

Read Autumn's story.

Tammy Cook

Tammy Cook: Lung Transplant Patient Story

Tammy was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Fearful and hesitant at first, Tammy knew that a lung transplant would be her only option. Today, she is thankful for her new lungs and thinks often of her donor a 30-year-old Purple Heart recipient and father of two.

Read Tammy's story.

Chuck Lutz and Virginia Kerschbaumer

Chuck Lutz and Virginia Kerschbaumer: Living-Donor Kidney Transplant Story

When Chuck Lutz learned that he was in kidney failure, he was hesitant and afraid to put anyone in his family at risk. His younger sister, Virginia, decided to become his living donor. Virginia and Chuck underwent a living-donor kidney transplant at the UPMC Hamot Kidney Transplant Program and are both doing great.

Read Chuck Lutz and Virginia Kerschbaumer's story.