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Cedars Leading In Heart Transplantation

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In 2010, Cedars-Sinai’s Heart Institute completed 75 adult heart transplants – more than any other medical center in the U.S. This accomplishment’ for the medical staff gave dozens of patients, like Michelle Johnson, a second chance at life.

Johnson became the 75th person to receive a heart transplant in 2010 at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s transplant system, the transplant team at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute completed more heart transplants than any other.
“Performing 75 transplants in one year is a tremendous accomplishment for the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, social workers and support staff who dedicate themselves to heart transplantation,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Heart Institute and Mark S. Siegel Family Foundation Chair. “It is also a testament to the families of the organ donors who are giving our patients a second chance at life.”

Finding a heart that matched Johnson, 38, proved even more difficult than it is for many patients because Johnson’s blood contained an unusually high number of antibodies. Antibodies are small particles in the blood stream that attack foreign bodies, including bacteria or infectious organisms. When a new organ is placed in a patient’s body, antibodies perceive the transplanted organ as foreign and can attack it and cause rejection. Johnson’s doctors in San Diego recommended that she be transferred by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, where Jon Kobashigawa, MD, director of the institute’s Advanced Heart Disease section and a prominent expert in transplant organ rejection caused by antibodies, could oversee her care.

“The team at Cedars-Sinai’s Heart Institute and the Comprehensive Transplant Center has played a huge role in developing the new protocols to decrease antibodies and to prevent new ones from being formed,” said Kobashigawa, DSL/Thomas D. Gordon Chair in Heart Transplantation Medicine. “Keeping antibodies under control minimizes the chance of organ rejection and increases the chance of transplantation success.”

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