In addition to celebrating 60 years as a leader in organ transplant practice, Mayo Clinic is also celebrating a record year in the number of transplants performed. Mayo Clinic, as the largest integrated transplant center in the country represented by sites in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, performed a collective 1,986 organ transplants in 2023. Transplant volumes not only exceeded previous records held by Mayo Clinic, but also those of other national transplant programs. Since the organ transplant practice began with the first kidney transplant on Nov. 25, 1963, more than 31,000 lifesaving organ transplants have been performed at Mayo Clinic.
“As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Mayo Clinic’s transplant programs, we are also celebrating a record number of transplants,” says Julie Heimbach, M.D., chair of the Transplant Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Working together across our three destination transplant centers, we have made remarkable progress in patient care which has led to excellent post-transplant outcomes for patients. We have also developed innovative patient care protocols that make transplantation possible even for the most complex patients. We remain focused on the primary value of Mayo Clinic, which is that the needs of the patient come first.”
Each of Mayo Clinic’s three destination campuses has a large volume and highly successful transplant program. Altogether, Mayo Clinic currently has the largest liver, kidney and heart transplant programs in the country.
This success can be attributed to several factors, including consistent communication and collaboration between sites, as well as collective expertise-sharing best practices. Each site’s transplant program continues to push the limit on ways to increase the availability of organs for transplantation while providing high-quality patient care.
“When others say no, we say yes,” says Bashar Aqel, M.D., chair of the Transplant Center at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “It is not easy at all to become a Category of One. With a passion to do more, to be better every day and unparalleled teamwork, we have achieved that distinction.”
While performing more organ transplants in 2023 than in any previous year, team physicians and researchers continue to look to the future of organ transplants. The Transforming Transplant strategic initiative aims to transform the field through research and innovation by redefining standards of care for patients in organ failure. The Transplant Specialty Council and Transplant Research Center also are making plans to begin a Transplant Outcomes and Policy Initiative — a structure to invest in data science and build expertise in policy development — in 2024.
“Transplant is a highly complex clinical practice that requires a high degree of coordination throughout the patient journey,” says Burcin Taner, M.D., chair of the Transplant Specialty Council and Transplant Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida. “The growing volume of transplants at Mayo Clinic is the ultimate testament that our patients trust our collective expertise. Our successes will spring us to the future in which we envision Mayo Clinic playing an even bigger role in shaping the future of organ transplant globally.”
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