In 1984, UCLA was one of a handful of centers in the U.S. that was ready to explore the field of heart transplantation at a time when the technologies and therapies required to support such an innovative program were still being refined.
Twenty-five years later, UCLA is among the leading heart transplant centers in the nation, with more than 1,800 procedures performed and survival rates that exceed those reported by the International Heart Transplant Registry.
"UCLA has saved thousands of lives, improved the control of patients' immunological responses to transplantation, expanded the criteria for who is eligible to receive transplants and improved our ability to preserve donor hearts prior to transplantation," says Richard J. Shemin, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA.
The transplant program has worked in partnership with the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy/Heart Failure Program. The innovative heart failure disease management program pioneered at UCLA has helped patients with advanced heart failure improve their health status, quality of life and survival, allowing heart transplantation to be reserved for select patients who will derive the greatest benefit, and leading to UCLA's position as one of the largest heart transplantation centers in the nation.