Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Sets New Standard for Most US Heart Transplants in a Year

For Fourth Consecutive Year, Cedars-Sinai Leads the Nation in Heart Transplantation and Also Implants More Total Artificial Hearts than Any Other Medical Center


Los Angeles - March 17, 2014 – The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute has set a new standard for U.S. heart transplantation by completing 117 adult heart transplants and two adult heart-lung transplants, for a total of 119 adult heart transplants in a single year. The previous number set in 2005, was 98 adult heart transplants performed in one year.

This accomplishment underscores the work of the past four years, during each of which 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 and collects data on every transplant performed in the U.S.

Cedars-Sinai's leadership in heart transplantation also extends to a mechanical pumping device called the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. Total Artificial Hearts are implanted in heart failure patients who otherwise might not live long enough on the organ transplant waiting list to receive a heart transplant. In 2013, Cedars-Sinai surgeons implanted 23 Total Artificial Heart devices, according to SynCardia, the company that invented and manufactures the Total Artificial Heart. The manufacturer states that Cedars-Sinai has now set an all-time yearly record for the number of Total Artificial Heart devices implanted by a single medical center.

"Although we have made great strides toward preventing premature death from heart attacks, more patients are developing chronic heart failure, with breathlessness and inability to exercise,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. "Quality of life is poor, and mortality is higher than with many malignancies. At Cedars-Sinai, we use machines to tide over the sickest patients until they can get a new heart. Because we treat more of these patients than any other center in the United States, we can tailor the approach to each individual's needs, resulting in superior outcomes."

Since the Heart Transplant Program was established in 1988, 975 patients have undergone heart transplantation at Cedars-Sinai.

"This is a golden age in organ transplantation, with more options like new anti-rejection drugs and medical devices than ever before," 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. "But we need to be mindful that at this moment, more than 120,000 people are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. The best way to help those patients and their families is to encourage more people to sign up to become organ donors."

Jon Kobashigawa, MD, director of the Heart Transplant Program and the DSL/Thomas D. Gordon Chair in Heart Transplantation Medicine, said, "In just a year, we dramatically increased the number of heart transplants, going from 95 heart transplants in 2012 to 119. Yet, even with that significant jump, we have maintained excellent one-year survival rates of approximately 90 percent."

The new heart transplant statistics underscore the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute's tradition of expertise and innovation, dating back to the 1920s, when it installed Los Angeles' first electrocardiogram machine. 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, advanced heart failure specialist Kobashigawa and general cardiology and stem cell expert Tim Henry, MD, rounded out the institute's senior leadership. Other leading edge programs include the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center led by Noel Bairey Merz, MD, cardiothoracic surgery led by Alfredo Trento, MD and the Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program led by Evan Zahn, MD, and Alistair Phillips, MD. The physicians in the innovative endovascular interventional cardiology program led by Raj Makkar, MD, have performed more minimally invasive heart valve repairs and replacements than any other medical center.

Senior leadership of the heart transplant team includes Fardad Esmailian, MD, surgical director of the institute's Heart Transplant Program; Francisco Arabia, MD, surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program; Lawrence Czer, MD, medical director of Heart Transplant; Michele Hamilton, MD, director of the Heart Failure Program and Jaime Moriguchi, MD, medical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program.