Area’s Leading Solid Organ Transplant Center Has New Facility

The region’s largest, most successful solid organ transplant program moves into a brand new home August 12 on the first floor of The University of Kansas Hospital. The facility is a one-stop clinic for liver, kidney and pancreas transplant candidates and patients.

The new Center for Transplantation brings a multidisciplinary team of nearly 90 employees to one 25,000-square-foot location with 36 exam rooms, offices, inviting waiting areas for patients and families, dedicated lab and patient information resource center. Project cost was $6.5 million.  

Timothy Schmitt, MD, who heads the hospital’s organ transplant program, said patient input played a significant role in the center’s design.

“Bringing a multidisciplinary team together is vital, because we handle very complex cases where there is often more than one health issue involved,” Dr. Schmitt said. “Patients on our transplant lists are very ill, facing fatal organ failure without a transplant. The new Center for Transplantation allows us to more quickly evaluate and treat underlying health causes, which improve transplant outcomes.” 

The transplant program has attracted patients from across the country, including California and New York.  

The hospital’s liver transplant program is now among the nation’s top 25 by volume. In FY 2013, the hospital performed a record 95 liver transplants, a 280 percent increase over that of 10 years ago. A record 15 transplants were performed in May alone.

The hospital nearly surpassed its all-time record of kidney transplants with 100 in FY 2013. The team also performed eight simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplants during that time period. 

Patient outcomes, as measured by one-year survival rates, have remained better than the national average.  

The University of Kansas Hospital has received awards for organ donation through its partnership with Midwest Transplant Network. This partnership has been a major factor in significantly lower wait times for patients on transplants lists. The hospital’s current liver transplant wait time is 3.9 months compared to 7 months regionally and 11.1 months nationally.

“It takes a team of physicians, surgeons, nurses and a culture of organ donation in the region to make this program a national leader in organ transplant,” said Dr. Schmitt. He is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.