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Feb 2019

Transplant Center Reaches Milestone of 10,000 Transplants

The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center’s surgical and medical teams performed their 10,000th adult organ transplant in January 2019. The transplant center, which recently celebrated 55 years of life-saving transplants, is the 12th largest in the nation (by volume) and is renowned for excellent patient outcomes.

The 10,000th adult organ transplanted was a kidney from a living donor. The recipient who received the organ was identified through the hospital’s internal paired exchange program. Sometimes a patient has a willing donor, but their organs are not compatible. The transplant center compares other donor/recipient pairs experiencing the same situation until they find the perfect match for a paired exchange. Barnes-Jewish’s transplant center also participates in national paired exchanges and has participated in some of the largest transplant chains in the country.

Marti Simon, 69, Ballwin, is the recipient of the 10,000th transplanted organ at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Before my transplant, I was so ill and fatigued because my kidneys were failing that I was not able to do the things I enjoyed doing,” says Simon. “Thanks to my organ donor’s gift of life, I now have renewed hope for my future because my health has been restored.”

The kidney transplant program accounts for more than half of all the transplants performed by the transplant center since 1963.

“Very few programs nationwide have performed 10,000 transplants,” says Gene Ridolfi, RN, administrative director of the transplant center. “With 10,000 transplants, there are 10,000 stories that could be told. This milestone transplant is accompanied by a great story – two lives have been saved and four people will forever share an unbreakable bond.”

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 114,000 people are waiting for an organ, and a new person joins the list every ten minutes.

“It is a tremendous honor to know we have impacted countless lives through transplants and life-saving surgeries,” says William Chapman, MD, surgical director of the transplant center. “Part of our success is due to the dedication of all those involved in patient care — from coordinators and social workers, to rehabilitation specialists, physicians and surgeons, they work together seamlessly on behalf of our patients.”

Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital are at the forefront of innovation in transplants. Barnes-Jewish’s first organ transplant was performed in 1963, and the first living-donor transplant was performed two years later. The center’s transplant specialists are leaders in living-donor transplants and have helped advance the living-donor paired kidney exchange so more people can benefit from kidney transplant.

Transplant survival rates at Barnes-Jewish, which continually exceed national averages, are a reflection of the transplant center’s expertise. Surgeons perform hundreds of transplants each year including heart, kidney, liver, lung and pancreas transplants. In addition, the center performs multi-organ transplants such as heart-lung, heart-liver, liver-kidney, liver-lung and kidney-pancreas transplants, meaning patients can receive multiple organs at the same time.

“This is a milestone for us and for our patients,” says Jeffrey Crippin, MD, medical director of the transplant center. “These four people are an example of how our transplant team contributes to forever changing lives within our community. I’m proud to say that we’ve helped thousands of patients and provided them with the best possible care.”

To register to be an organ donor, visit organdonor.gov or registerme.org. For more information on organ transplantation or becoming a living donor, visit BarnesJewish.org/transplantor call 314.362.5365. This number begins the living donor screening process at Barnes-Jewish’s transplant center.

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