Transplant Center

UTAH Cardiac Celebrates 1,000 Heart Transplants

Media Contacts

Apr 11, 2008 3:01 PM

One of the country's most successful cooperative heart transplant programs that is based in Utah and serves patients from throughout the Intermountain West will celebrate a major milestone on Tuesday – the transplantation of the program’s 1,000th patient.

Transplant recipients, their families and medical staff from Intermountain Medical Center, Primary Children's Medical Center, University Health Care, and the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, the four transplant centers that comprise the UTAH Cardiac Transplant Program, will gather to celebrate this medical achievement.

The UTAH (Utah Transplant Affiliated Hospitals) Cardiac Transplant Program is a unique model because it utilizes the skill, expertise, and resources of medical teams from the four different hospitals. This helps to contain costs by eliminating replication and enhances clinical expertise.

This model has proved highly successful as the program has achieved one of the best survival rates in the country and has been cited as a model for other transplant programs for its efficiency and clinical outcomes.

Among the recipients to be spotlighted is UTAH Cardiac’s first patient, Tony Shepard, who was transplanted at University Hospital in March 1985, and who continues to do well. Also attending will be Damon Draheim, the program’s 1,000th heart transplant patient. He was transplanted at Intermountain Medical Center late last month. Other recipients to be spotlighted include an Iraq war veteran, and a 21-year-old man who received a heart transplant at Primary Children’s Medical Center when he was 10 years old.

"The UTAH Cardiac Transplant program is one of the most successful programs in the country because of the cooperative nature that exists between the teams at Intermountain Medical Center, Primary Children's, University Health Care, and the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System ," says Dale Renlund, M.D., medical director of the UTAH Cardiac Transplant Program. "Cooperation has allowed us to function more effectively, to allocate donor hearts more effectively, and to select the most appropriate recipients."

UTAH Cardiac is one of only a handful of transplant programs in the country to have transplanted 1,000 patients.

Media Contacts

Ryann Rasmussen
University Health Care Public Affairs
Phone: (801) 581-7387