A new survey by an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recognized the heart transplant program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as the nation's best.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) presented UCLA with the award Nov. 3 at its organ donation conference in Grapevine, Texas. The HRSA survey is designed to evaluate and recognize the country's highest performing organ transplant programs.
UCLA's was the only heart transplant program in the U.S. to be ranked at the silver level. Among the 744 solid-organ donation programs ranked by the HRSA, only 10 earned silver status, and only one, a liver transplant program in Florida, earned gold.
"This remarkable achievement is a testament to the efforts of our entire UCLA team," said Dr. Abbas Ardehali, surgical director of UCLA's heart transplant program. "We are incredibly proud of our program, which has served so many patients with this life-saving procedure."
The survey was developed as a way to measure performance by assessing transplant rates, post-transplant survival rates, and mortality rates for patients after being placed on the organ donation waiting list. Medal categories include gold, silver and bronze.
The inaugural ranking process was developed by the Transplant Center Task Force, part of the HRSA's Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice, with the assistance of data experts from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.
The HRSA has federal oversight of the nation's organ donation and transplantation programs, and its Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice brings together donation and transplantation professionals, hospital staff, and other practitioners involved in the donation process to identify and share best practices.
The UCLA Heart Transplant Program has been a pioneer in the field since performing its first transplant in 1984. Since the inception of the program, more than 1,900 patients — both adult and pediatric — have undergone this life-saving procedure. The development of effective immunosuppressive drugs and the refinement of surgical procedures have led to remarkable improvements in the long-term success of heart transplantation