Increased volumes to serve more patients
Stanford Health Care continues to develop strategies to provide life-saving transplants to more people. Between January 2021 and December 2021, the transplant team performed a total of 65 lung and heart-lung transplants. They also performed heart, kidney, pancreas, liver, and intestinal transplants. In total, Stanford Health Care performed a record-setting 420 transplants.
“The success of that year is a reflection of our team’s dedication to our patients,” said Christine Hartley, RN, MS, administrative director of the solid organ transplant destination service line. “Against the backdrop of the pandemic, we worked together to meet our patients’ critical needs. And, at the same time, we continued our trend of excellent outcomes in graft success and patient survival.”
As one of the most active lung transplant programs in the United States, Stanford Health Care regularly performs between 50 and 60 lung transplants each year. The team also performs a quarter of all the heart-lung transplants in the nation annually — more than any other transplantation center in the U.S.
Successful solid organ transplant center
Innovative research for improved care
Stanford Health Care has a long history of excellence in solid organ transplantation. Since Stanford physicians performed the first adult heart transplant in the U.S. in 1968, the team has continued to improve transplant success by pioneering innovative research.
In August 2022, Stanford Medicine was awarded one of eight NIH Lung Transplant Consortium Center grants in the United States. The Stanford group, along with collaborators, will study the impaired vaccination responses of lung transplant recipients. One of the most important NIH initiatives for lung transplant research in decades, this study aims to improve vaccine design and effectiveness.
Through the NIH Lung Transplant Laboratory and several multicenter clinical trials, Stanford researchers come together to improve every stage of the transplantation process. The team:
- Uses next-generation human leukocyte antigen typing to identify better donor-patient matches
- Investigates the factors that contribute to both acute and chronic lung rejection
- Focuses on early detection of graft injury using gene-expression pooling and biomarker tests
Other areas of research include immunosuppressive drugs, primary graft dysfunction, and the use of antimicrobial agents to treat respiratory infections.
Armed with findings from these studies, Stanford researchers have developed new therapeutics that have significantly improved surgery outcomes. These therapies increase the long-term survival rate and make transplants safer and more successful.
Expanded access to life-saving transplants
Stanford Health Care’s highly skilled transplant team is dedicated to making transplants available to more patients. With outreach clinics in California and Nevada, the team has extended their reach and continues to improve access to underserved communities. They plan to open outreach clinics in more locations in the future.
Stanford Medicine’s transplant team uses sophisticated technology that enables them to accept organs from a larger pool of donors. These include donors who are:
- Located farther away
- Diagnosed with certain diseases, such as hepatitis C
The team uses ex vivo lung perfusion and circulated blood and oxygen to keep donor lungs healthier and working better. This technology improves the quality of the lung, making successful transplantation a reality for more patients.