5000 Organ Transplants

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5000 Lives Changed

University Heath’s Transplant Center celebrated its 50th year of existence by ringing in a huge milestone – 5,000 solid organ transplants.

Hayes Atkins, transplant patient Hayes Atkins, at only 14 years old, was surprised to find he was a landmark patient for more than just being the 5000th transplant. He also benefited from a very rare occurrence: an all-female surgical team.

It’s not the first time the Transplant Center has broken records or glass ceilings. The Transplant Center, formed through an academic partnership with UT Health San Antonio, performed the first lung transplant in the world to treat pulmonary hypertension in 1989. In 2019, they were the first in the nation to perform a living donor liver exchange, which allows two people in need of transplants to swap donors so that each recipient gets an organ that is compatible with his or her blood type. And in 2020, the Transplant Center performed the first COVID-related lung transplant in South Texas.

In the last 20 years, living kidney and donor transplants have become more common. Although there have been strides in transplantation research, there’s still a great need for donors and more organs. Today, living donations make up a third of all transplants. Innovations at the Transplant Center are key to expanding the donor pool and improving outcomes, including an all-new specimen biorepository and a Center for Life to maximize the care of deceased donor organs.

University Health's Transplant Center is home to a multidisciplinary team that offers both children and adults cutting-edge treatment options for a variety of liver, lung and kidney conditions. The unique academic partnership with UT Health San Antonio means that patients benefit from a strong history of research, education, innovation and surgical excellence.

With strides in transplantation research comes a greater need for more donors and more organs - there are over 100,000 people currently on the national waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant. Living donation is still the quickest way to transplant for a person in need - learn more about becoming a living donor at UTCLivingDonor.com.