Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Ranked First in Adult Heart Transplants for Third Year in a Row

Los Angeles - March 19, 2013 – For the third year in a row, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and Comprehensive Transplant Center performed more adult heart transplants than any other U.S. medical center, according to statistics compiled by the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s transplant system.

In 2012, Cedars-Sinai surgeons performed heart transplants on 95 patients, making Cedars-Sinai the leader among the 116 U.S. medical centers that performed adult heart transplants during the year.

"Advanced heart disease has become the greatest challenge in modern cardiology,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the Mark S. Siegel Family Professor.  “At the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, we focus on doing what is best for each individual patient, whether it be heart transplant, stem cell therapy or device management. All options are available to us, providing unique opportunities for those suffering from heart failure."

Since the Heart Transplant Program was established in 1988, 836 patients have undergone heart transplantation at Cedars-Sinai.

“Every patient whose life is rejuvenated by an organ transplant has a compelling story to tell,” said Andrew S. Klein, MD, MBA, director of the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center and the Esther and Mark Schulman Chair of Surgery and Transplant Medicine. “Cedars-Sinai is firmly committed to supporting leaders in the fields of heart, lung, liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation so that the number of these victories continues to grow.  The Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center is now the home to more than 300 exceptional doctors, scientists and staff who have devoted their professional lives to providing the gift of life to their patients.”  

Jon Kobashigawa, MD, director of the Heart Transplant Program and the DSL/Thomas D. Gordon Chair in Heart Transplantation Medicine, said, “It is an honor for us to lead the way in the exciting field of heart transplantation. Throughout the country, there were 2,008 heart transplants during the 2012 calendar year, which means 4 percent of the nation’s heart transplants happened here at Cedars-Sinai.”   

The new heart transplant statistics underscore the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute’s tradition of expertise and innovation, dating back to the 1920s, when Los Angeles’ first electrocardiogram machine was installed. In the 1950s, Cedars-Sinai doctors were first to use thrombolytic enzymes to dissolve blood clots in the heart and were first to describe vasospastic angina syndrome. In 1970, two Cedars-Sinai physicians invented the Swan-Ganz catheter, still used today to measure blood flow and heart pressure.

In recent years, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute has undergone rapid growth. After Marbán became the institute’s director in 2007, heart rhythm expert Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, hypertension specialist Ronald Victor, MD, and advanced heart failure specialist Kobashigawa rounded out the institute’s senior leadership.

In February 2012, The Lancet published results from Marbán’s groundbreaking clinical trial that showed treating heart attack patients with an infusion of their own cardiac stem cells helped damaged hearts re-grow healthy muscle. Patients who underwent the stem cell procedure pioneered by Marbán demonstrated an average of 50 percent reduction in the size of the scar left on the heart muscle after a heart attack. Patients also experienced a sizable increase in healthy heart muscle following the experimental stem cell treatments.

Other leading edge programs include research by P.K Shah, MD, who is developing novel gene therapy approaches to protect against heart attacks and strokes, the unified approach to women’s heart problems pioneered by Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Women’s Heart Center, and innovative endovascular interventional cardiology directed Raj Makkar, MD.

Cedars-Sinai interventional cardiologists participating in clinical trials have performed more catheter-based aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair procedures than doctors in any other U.S. program.