UAlberta transplant teams help set new record number of surgeries

(Edmonton) Transplant surgical teams and researchers from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry played a key role this past fall when the transplant services team at the U of A Hospital performed 30 organ transplants in a 10-day period from September 29 to October 8. The three lung, two heart, eight liver, five islet, one kidney/pancreas and 11 kidney transplants were a hospital record. Typically, between 20 and 25 transplants are performed in an entire month.

The record-setting transplant surgeries were performed by faculty members Gerald Todd, Trevor Schuler, Ronald Moore, James Shapiro, Norman Kneteman, David Bigam, Steven Meyer, Roderick MacArthur, Shaohua Wang and Bryce Laing. 

The transplantation record is a testament to the incredible teamwork of the Edmonton Zone multi-organ transplant program, one of the most comprehensive clinical programs in Canada. But it is also partly the legacy of transplant research excellence for which the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and the U of A are known. The faculty is home to the Alberta Transplant Institute, which, in close partnership with Alberta Health Services, brings together all of the university’s clinical transplant programs and its multiple research strengths under one umbrella. And in April of this year, faculty researcher and renowned pediatric transplant cardiologist Lori West was tasked with leading Canada’s new national transplant research program.

“Advances in transplantation such as this are completely dependent on an infrastructure of research excellence, such as we nurture and support at the Alberta Transplant Institute,” said West, director of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program and acting director of the institute. “Transplantation science, in its many diverse areas, is a rapidly evolving arena, and feeds the development of cutting-edge transplant therapies that provide clinical solutions.

“Patients awaiting transplant are among the most vulnerable Albertans, but these life-saving transplants provide real hope and impact.”