The University Health Transplant Institute was recently recognized by INTERLINK, a national managed care company, as the No. 1 liver transplant program in the country. The Transplant Institute is a partnership between University Health and the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Center for Transplantation, Hepatobiliary Surgery and Innovation at UT Health San Antonio.
For more than 50 years, the medical school’s transplant center has staffed University Health with best-in-class physicians from the faculty of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Through the collaboration, faculty and staff have provided lifesaving solid organ transplants, including liver, kidney and lung, as well as hepatobiliary/pancreatic surgery and advanced endoscopy. The Texas Liver Institute is also a critical partner to the collective success.
“This recognition speaks not only to the power of partnerships but to the faculty and staff committed to improving the lives of patients with organ-failure challenges through a comprehensive, academic medical collaboration. Together we are doing everything it takes to ensure our patients receive the most innovative and best care possible,” said Francisco Cigarroa, MD, director of the center.
The Transplant Institute received the 2023 Chairman’s Award for “excellence in delivering the highest quality liver transplant care,” said Richard Freeman, MD, INTERLINK medical director.
The institute received this recognition for many reasons, including shorter wait times for lifesaving surgeries, its capacity to provide a large volume of liver transplants, with 131 transplants in 2022, and excellent patient outcomes, with one-year survival rates of 97% compared to the 94% national average.
The Transplant Institute credits opening the Texas Liver Tumor Center in 2015, as a lightning-rod for continued success in liver transplantation. While the initial mission of the center was to enhance the quality and efficiency of care for patients whose liver tumors required a surgical resection or a transplant, it has also cultivated multidisciplinary experts who are united and driven by a shared passion for delivering the best and most comprehensive liver and pancreas care.
The decrease in wait times is attributed to the increasing number of organs from living donors. In addition to often being healthier than livers from deceased donors, living donor organs are more quickly available for transplant. The Transplant Institute has increased the number of liver transplants with living donor organs from 7% in 2017 to 37% in 2022.
The Transplant Institute was also recognized in 2022 for being the country’s largest pediatric living kidney transplant program.