February 14, 2024/News Updates

Organ Transplants Reached Record Levels at Cleveland Clinic in 2023, Saving More Lives Using Teamwork and Innovation

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Cleveland Clinic performed 1,232 organ transplants in 2023 – including heart, intestine, kidney, liver, lung, and pancreas transplants from deceased donors – as well as living donor transplantation for kidney and liver. That is up 17% from the number of organ transplants performed at Cleveland Clinic in 2022.

“We are grateful for organ donors and their families who make the gift of life possible for our patients,” said Charles Miller, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s enterprise director of transplantation. “Our teams work collaboratively to honor that gift and save more lives.”

Cleveland Clinic’s transplant sites are located at its main campus in Cleveland, Ohio; Weston Hospital in Florida; and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

With innovative approaches and teamwork, Cleveland Clinic’s global transplant programs continue to grow to save more lives.

  • The liver transplant programs in Ohio and Florida use new technology to preserve and assess donor organs before transplantation. Normothermic machine perfusion preserves the donor organ in a warm, oxygen-and nutrient-rich environment. As a result of using this organ preservation technology, more donated organs can be assessed and safely preserved, resulting in more usable organs and less time waiting to receive a lifesaving transplant.

  • Cleveland Clinic’s Organ Repair Centers in Ohio and Florida perfuse some of the donated organs so they can undergo viability assessment prior to transplantation.

  • Living donation makes more transplants possible at Cleveland Clinic’s global transplant programs.

  • Colleagues from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. conducted three robot-assisted kidney transplants for the first time in the UAE.

  • To provide additional treatment options for patients, Cleveland Clinic researchers showed that patients who need both heart surgery and a liver transplant can benefit from a lifesaving combined treatment.

Cleveland Clinic’s transplant programs reached several milestones in 2023. Data are from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

Cleveland, Ohio, USA

  • Cleveland Clinic’s transplant program in Ohio was the third largest program in the United States with 783 transplants in 2023; the lung and intestine transplant programs were the largest programs in the United States with 129 lung transplants and 18 intestine transplants.

  • Cleveland Clinic’s liver transplant and kidney transplant programs in Ohio reached new volume records with 235 liver transplants and 326 kidney transplants.

  • With new technology to preserve and assess the donor organ before transplantation, the liver and lung transplant programs in Ohio significantly reduced waitlist time.

  • With the use of the Organ Repair Center, 173 livers, 34 lungs, and seven hearts were successfully transplanted last year after the organs were perfused and evaluated.

  • Cleveland Clinic’s main campus completed 46 living-donor kidney transplants and 19 living-donor liver transplants last year. At Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, all living-donor surgeries for liver transplant were done laparoscopically, which provides the living liver donor with the benefits of minimally invasive surgery.

Weston, Florida, USA

  • Cleveland Clinic Weston’s transplant team completed 257 transplants in 2023.

  • Cleveland Clinic’s kidney transplant and liver transplant programs in Florida reached new volume records with 151 kidney transplants and 52 liver transplants.

  • The transplant team launched a machine perfusion program for liver transplantation to better preserve and evaluate donor organs before transplantation.

  • With the use of the Organ Repair Center at Weston, 39 livers were successfully transplanted after the organs were perfused and evaluated.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s transplant team completed 192 transplants in 2023, including several milestones achieved with innovation and teamwork.

  • The transplant center team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi performed its first liver and lung transplant and its first laparoscopic living donor kidney transplant.

  • The liver transplant team completed 98 liver transplants, which is the highest number since the program began.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) announced all-time records for organ transplants in 2023.

Here are some of the inspiring Cleveland Clinic patients impacted by organ donation:

Mom With CF Undergoes Double-Lung Transplant, Has Three Girls Via Surrogacy

Raising children of her own seemed to be out of the question for Kati Gregory, who was born with cystic fibrosis. While medication helped, years later, during adulthood, her condition rapidly declined. She soon required oxygen around the clock. A life-saving double-lung transplant to treat cystic fibrosis gave Kati a chance to grow a family. Kati and her husband, Gerome, had three babies, between two surrogates, within two months.
Read Kati’s story.
(Courtesy: Nicholaus Booth Photography LLC)

Young Woman Has More Than Twenty Heart Procedures, Saved By Heart Transplant

Born with a rare congenital heart disease, Katherine Schroeder-Herrmann underwent more than 20 heart procedures before her 22nd birthday. Shortly after birth, her family learned she had Shone’s complex, which is diagnosed when babies have at least three defects that impact blood flow in the left side of their heart. While in college, Katherine learned she was in heart failure and needed a heart transplant. She underwent a heart transplant at 21 years old, marking her fifth open-heart surgery. Since the successful procedure, Katherine has been able to complete a 5K, secure a job and get married – all things she thought may not have been possible without a new heart. Katherine also got to meet the family of her deceased donor, and they’ve stayed in contact ever since.
Read Katherine’s story.

(Courtesy: Katherine Schroeder-Herrmann)

Man Lives Pain-Free After Mini-Incision Kidney Transplant

Ahmad Refaat’s two kidney transplants were a world of difference. When he came to Cleveland Clinic for his second transplant, surgeons used a “mini-incision” approach. They cut in between the muscles instead of through them. Ahmad had minimal pain with no narcotics. Cleveland Clinic is the only hospital in Ohio offering this newer technique to patients who need a donor kidney.
Read Ahmad’s story.

(Courtesy: Ahmad Refaat)

Two-Time Living Organ Donor: “If I could do it again, I would!”

Lori Seitz is a two-time living organ donor. She donated a kidney to her brother, and nearly two years later, anonymously donated a portion of her liver. It was transplanted into an 8-month-old girl named Emma, who was suffering from liver failure. Following the liver transplant, both families told their transplant coordinators they wanted to meet. Lori says, “What better gift is there than to give life to someone who might not make it? If I could stop another family from having to deal with that I would.”
Read Lori’s story.

(Courtesy: Lori Seitz)

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