UF Health Shands Hospital has surpassed all pediatric heart transplant programs in the nation — with zero deaths over a two-and-a-half year period. Results were featured in a report released in January by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, a database that analyzes and evaluates organ transplantation programs across the nation.
According to the Program-Specific Report, a document that is released biannually to evaluate 58 organ transplant centers over a 30-month period, 31 pediatric patients under age 18 received heart transplants between July 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015 at UF Health Shands Hospital. All of them survived their first year after transplant. Since 2006, surgeons at the UF Health Shands Transplant Center have performed a total of 120 pediatric heart transplants and heart-lung transplants.
As a result, UF Health is ranked one of the two most active programs in the Southeast for pediatric heart transplants.
“Over the past 10 years, we have climbed in the national rankings because of our success in the medical and surgical management of children with congenital heart defects, including patients in need of pediatric heart transplantation,” said Mark Bleiweis, M.D., UF College of Medicine pediatric and congenital cardiovascular surgery
chief and UF Health Congenital Heart Center director. “This past year alone, we were ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida and No. 24 in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.”
UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez added, “One of the predominant reasons why UF Health Shands Hospital continues to excel in patient survival is because of our outstanding transplant team that treats even our tiniest patients. It’s very rewarding to know that physicians from across Florida and the U.S. are opting to send their patients to UF Health because our team is committed to taking the utmost care of their patients and families.”
In 2014, the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit opened to better serve the heart center’s most complex cases, including children who are awaiting heart transplantation, using a multidisciplinary team approach. The 18,000-square-foot expansion includes 23 private patient rooms, each with its own bathroom and shower. In addition, the PICU features a dedicated area for physical therapy designed for children with congenital heart defects to receive pre- and postsurgical rehab care.
For additional information on overall surgical survival rates at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, visit UFHealth.org/uf-health-congenital-heart-center/ quality-outcomes.