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UC Health physicians, surgeons and medical staff provide crucial kidney transplants for residents in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.

UC Health physicians, surgeons and medical staff provide crucial kidney transplants for residents in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.
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Publish Date: 12/07/17
Media Contact: Amanda Nageleisen, 513-585-8885
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UC Health Kidney Transplant Program Reaches New Milestone

Fifty years ago, University of Cincinnati Medical Center surgeons pioneered transplantation in Greater Cincinnati by performing the hospital’s first kidney transplant.

This week, UC Health’s world-renowned Transplant Program reached a new milestone: 100 kidney transplants performed in one year for the first time.

"The 100th kidney transplant in 2017, the first time we have ever reached this threshold at UC Health, is a testament of hard work by all our surgeons, physicians, nurses, social workers, and comprehensive multidisciplinary team. We should all be proud of this accomplishment as it represents a total team effort one patient at a time,” said Shimul A. Shah, MD, James and Catherine Orr Endowed Chair of Liver Transplantation and professor in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine and section chief of solid organ transplantation at UC Medical Center.

For the Cincinnati family involved in the transplant, the surgery was extra special: Kris Harris, 22, was able to give his mother, Laverne, the gift of life just days before her 54th birthday. Ms. Harris has suffered from advanced kidney disease for several years, and her son said the decision to donate his own kidney was not a difficult one.

"She brought me into the world, so the least I can do is give her the gift of life,” Kris Harris said. "I was nervous going into the operating room, but I put my faith in the medical team. They were excellent, and made sure we were informed every step of the way.”

The UC Health Kidney Transplant Program has a long history of innovation: UC Medical Center was one of the first centers in the U.S. to perform all living donor kidney surgeries laparoscopically, resulting in faster recoveries and less pain for living kidney donors. UC Health transplant surgeons have led the development of kidney exchange programs both locally and nationally, helping expand access to living kidney donation, which provides the best outcomes and the longest survival rates.

"This is an important milestone for our transplant programs, but most importantly, it means more patients have better lives and longer life expectancies,” said E. Steve Woodle, MD, Director of Solid Organ Transplantation at UC Health and the William A. Altemeier Chair in Surgery at the UC College of Medicine.

The fast-growing program performs nearly double the number of kidney transplants each year as it did a decade ago.

Monday, Dec. 11 will mark 50 years since the first kidney transplant performed at UC Medical Center.

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