Vanderbilt Transplant Center’s Pioneering First Decade

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center is currently the busiest heart transplant center in the world. Bill Frist, heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, detailed the history of the center and its first transformational decade in this recent Forbes article.

More than 12,300 adult and pediatric transplants have been performed at Vanderbilt's multidisciplinary, multi-organ transplant center since its founding 34 years ago. Not only does Vanderbilt perform more heart transplants annually than any other center, but it is where the longest surviving lung transplant patient was transplanted over three decades ago. Here is a brief timeline of the center's accomplishments, drawn from an article in the VUMC Reporter:

1985: First heart transplant
1987: The Southeast’s first combined heart/lung transplant
1991: First liver transplant
1990: First single-lung transplant
1994: First successful double-lung transplant
2000: First heart-lung-liver triple transplant
2004: Tennessee’s first paired kidney exchange
2008: First combined heart-kidney
2016: First pediatric heart-kidney transplant
2017: First heart-liver transplant

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center performed a record number of solid organ transplants in fiscal year 2021 (FY 21)—637 life-saving procedures among its adult and pediatric programs—despite occurring entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of transplants from FY 21, the period between July 2020 and the end of June 2021, are up 10% from the 578 transplants during the same period in FY 20.