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Stanford Medicine Children's Health celebrates decades of saving young transplant patients.

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Celebrates Decades of Excellence Saving Young Transplant Patients

2024 marks 50 years of pediatric heart transplants and 35 years of pediatric lung transplants at Stanford Medicine

PALO ALTO, Calif. , July 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Stanford Medicine Children’s Health is celebrating 50 years of pediatric heart transplants and more than 35 years of pediatric lung transplants . These milestones have a special significance, as Stanford was the site of the first successful human heart transplant in the United States , performed by cardiothoracic surgeon Norman Shumway , MD, PhD , in 1968.

“Every time we perform a pediatric heart or lung transplant, we are saving someone’s life,” said David Rosenthal , MD , medical director of Thoracic Organ Transplantation and director of the Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Therapies (PACT) program at Stanford Children’s Health. “As one of the largest pediatric transplant programs in the country, it’s amazing to think about the decades of collaboration between specialists around the institution and how we’ve been able to contribute many advances to the field. These advances have allowed us to take care of some of the smallest and most complex patients and give them another chance at life.”

In 1974, the first pediatric heart transplant at Stanford was performed for a teenager. Since then, the Stanford heart transplant program has completed more than 560 pediatric heart transplants—a higher volume than at many pediatric heart centers in the United States and the highest volume in the Western U.S. One of the more recent advances by the Stanford Children’s team includes the heart transplant size-matching program . A Stanford Children’s pediatric cardiologist pioneered the use of 3-D imaging software to better match donor hearts with children awaiting heart transplant to help expand the donor pool and reduce wait times.

In 1988, Stanford physicians performed the institution’s first pediatric lung transplant. The highly specialized transplant team has performed 98 pediatric lung and combined heart-lung transplants to date, treating more lung transplant patients than any other center on the West Coast. Most recently, to address an evolving need for young patients with severe pulmonary hypertension and advanced lung disease, Stanford Children’s created the Center for Advanced Lung Therapies , giving children their best chance for survival while they wait for a lung or combined heart-lung transplant, or being offered advanced therapeutic treatments which can serve as a bridge to transplant. Its team approach and integration within the greater Stanford Medicine network gives patients access to novel therapies and treatments.

“These milestones speak to our expertise, our long history of research, innovations, and procedures conducted in partnership with experts in the field,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “Seeing our patients go from critically ill to living fulfilling lives is something I find gratifying and gives me a lot of optimism for the future of the field.”

Stanford Children’s Pediatric Heart Transplant key facts

1974: First pediatric heart transplant at Stanford is performed for a teenager. 1984: Two-year-old Elizabeth Craze is the first small child to successfully receive a heart transplant at Stanford . She is one of the youngest heart transplant recipients on record and now Stanford’s oldest living heart transplant survivor . Elizabeth has survived for 40 years with the same heart. 2004: The Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Therapies (PACT) program is established at Stanford Children’s—the first combined pediatric heart failure and heart transplant program in the U.S. Yearly, the outpatient PACT clinic cares for more than 1,000 patients. 2004: A 5-month-old is the youngest child at the time to be placed on a Berlin Heart pump , enabling him to survive 55 days until a donor heart becomes available. 2010: Researchers find using an inexpensive blood test to be a faster, less intrusive way to identify transplant recipients’ organ rejection before it impairs transplanted hearts. To date, the heart transplant team has performed more than 560 pediatric heart transplants and implanted more than 200 ventricular assist devices (VAD) , which help extend patients’ lives until they receive a donor heart. Key medical protocols to minimize stroke in VAD patients and use adult devices in pediatric devices were developed at Stanford . Stanford Children’s Pediatric Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant key facts:

1988: Stanford surgeons perform the hospital’s first pediatric lung transplant. Stanford Children’s is the only pediatric program in the Western U.S. to consider lung and combined heart-lung transplantation for patients from infancy to early adulthood, even those who have developed respiratory failure months or years after prior surgery for congenital heart lesions and who are at high risk for future surgeries because of past, complex heart or lung surgeries. Stanford Children’s is the only center in California , Nevada , and Oregon to be designated a Therapeutic Development Network Center by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Stanford Children’s is part of the International Pediatric Lung Transplant Collaborative and an ongoing participant in the first-ever National Institutes of Health collaborative study on the mechanisms of chronic allograft rejection. 2011: Surgeons perform the first pediatric lung-liver transplant at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. 2016: A 14-year-old is the first pediatric heart-lung transplant patient in the Western U.S. to undergo a novel procedure to receive a shunt that assists his lungs to reduce the workload on his failing heart, acting as a bridge to transplant. This advanced lung therapeutic intervention helps him survive to transplant. 2013–23: Stanford Children’s completes 25 lung and heart-lung transplants. Media Contact

Katie Chen

(650) 465-4872

About Stanford Medicine Children’s Health

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford  at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations  across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine , an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at .

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SOURCE Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford