1,000th Patient Receives Second Chance at Life with Heart Transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas

DALLAS, Texas – This month, the heart transplant team at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas performed its 1,000th heart transplant, reaching a milestone in helping patients with heart failure.

Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health, is a large, multispecialty U.S. transplant center, and surgeons on the medical staff have now become one of the top medical center teams in the country to achieve this historic accomplishment.

Shelley Hall, MD, chief of transplant cardiology, mechanical circulatory support and heart failure at Baylor University Medical Center, has been part of the transplant team for more than 900 of the heart transplants. "For more than 23 years, our team has worked to give our patients and their loved ones more time together through the medical and surgical management of heart failure," Dr. Hall said. "We thank our patients and their families for trusting us with their care, and we honor the donors and donor families who made these life-saving transplants possible."

Dan Meyer, MD, chief of heart transplantation and advanced circulatory support at Baylor University Medical Center, was part of the program early on. "This landmark is a testimony to the years of dedication of our team of nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and physical therapists working toward a common goal of restoring the lives of our patients," Dr. Meyer said. "We are most grateful to those 1,000 patients and their families whose trust was bestowed upon our team to provide this care with the help of so many people here at Baylor. For this, we are thankful, and we look forward to helping the next 1,000 patients in need."

Legacy of Advancements in Cardiac Care

An internationally renowned destination for transplant care, Baylor University Medical Center and its highly experienced team provides comprehensive transplant services as part of Baylor Scott & White Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute.

Since Baylor University Medical Center’s first heart transplant in 1986, the transplant team has helped patients using the latest advancements in heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support. After the first combined heart and kidney transplant in 1988, the program’s capabilities were further established with the team’s successful completion of an exceptionally unique heart/lung/heart "domino" procedure at Baylor University Medical Center in 1989. In this North Texas first, a patient with pulmonary emphysema received a heart and two lungs from a deceased donor, while another patient with cardiomyopathy received the heart from the patient with emphysema.

Since the program started, the team has implanted more than 500 left ventricular assist devices (LVAD), making it one of the largest programs nationally by volume. In 2007, Baylor University Medical Center became the first center in the nation to achieve LVAD certification by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. This certification demonstrates commitment to a high standard of service and recognizes that an organization meets rigorous standards to support better outcomes based on performance measures.

In March 2016, Baylor University Medical Center became the first hospital in the region to implant a total artificial heart as a bridge to transition the patient to a successful heart transplant. In January 2021, the center will become one of only seven U.S. sites selected to trial the potential next-generation total artificial heart, joining a select group of high-volume U.S. transplant centers to offer this service.

The team is also heavily involved in research, regularly evaluating the safety and efficacy of mechanical assist devices and evaluating opportunities to safely increase the availability of donor hearts, such as with the investigator-initiated trial studying viability of hepatitis C-positive hearts for transplant.

Serving patients throughout the Southwest

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 655,000 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By 2030, an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. alone will have advanced heart failure.

Baylor University Medical Center is recognized consistently among the nation’s top 10 percent as "High Performing" in heart failure care by U.S. News & World Report. Through the Center for Advanced Heart and Lung Disease at Baylor University Medical Center, patients have convenient access to care for complex or chronic heart conditions, including management of advanced heart failure with education on medication, lifestyle adjustments and nutrition, and support programs. While a general cardiologist can treat many patients with heart failure, an advanced heart failure specialist such as is on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas can provide extended care before a heart transplant is needed. Additionally, several Baylor Scott & White Health locations offer cardiac rehabilitation programs, including some that have received national certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

When surgical interventions are needed, the team of cardiac specialists aggressively pursues ways to save lives with heart transplantation, mechanical device support and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Patients from across Texas and surrounding states often seek and receive treatment from the team in Dallas. To make pre- and post-transplant visits convenient for patients who live outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, satellite care sites are positioned throughout Texas and Louisiana. In addition, affordable, temporary living quarters are available for patients traveling to the metroplex for care — provided through the generosity of Baylor Scott & White – Dallas Foundation donors.

For more information on the Center for Advanced Heart and Lung Disease at Baylor University Medical Center, visit BSWHealth.com/DallasHeartTransplant.

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Matthew Olivolo

About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,200 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: BSWHealth.com