Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, in Partnership with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Ranks 4th in Nation for Liver Transplants

Published On 04/03/2012

The Methodist University Hospital (MUH) Transplant Institute, which is operated by physicians at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has recently become the 4th largest liver transplant program in the nation.  The Institute also set new records last year for transplant volumes and patient survival rates. 

The institute’s 140-person team has become recognized as one of the top overall 10 transplant programs in the United States.  Last year, a total of 270 transplants were performed, the most ever at the MUH Transplant Institute, up to 13 percent more than the prior year.  The 2011 numbers included 122 kidney transplants, 138 liver transplants, and 10 kidney/pancreas transplants.  Additionally, in 2011 adult patient survival rates markedly improved to 90 percent for liver transplants and 97 percent for all transplants combined.  

“The UT-Methodist partnership enabled us to really create a dream team by recruiting what I consider to be the top transplant physicians from all over the country and world,” James D. Eason, MD, professor of Surgery at UTHSC and program director for the MUH Transplant Institute.  “We are proud to be one of the largest liver transplant programs in the United States and probably one of the 10-largest liver transplant programs in the world.”

“The experience, skills and team commitment to quality care are the elements that make our transplant unit so successful,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, chief executive officer of MUH.  “Our Transplant Institute receives patient referrals from some of the most prestigious cancer centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Sloan-Kettering, and Stanford.”       

“We are committed to working in tandem with UT Health Science Center to provide the best quality transplant services to our patients,” said Gary Shorb, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. 

 “UTHSC is a pivotal partner with Methodist in transplant, bringing a commitment to academic excellence and recruiting that has enabled us to achieve and sustain a top-tier program,” said David M. Stern, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, and vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

“Some people still think a transplant is like this end-of-the-world, doomsday scenario, but most of our patients are in and out of the institute in a week.  They spend as little as one or two days in the Intensive Care Unit,” said Dr. Eason.

An alumnus from the UTHSC College of Medicine, Dr. Eason and the institute he leads are known worldwide for performing the 2009 liver transplant on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.  The surgery saved the billionaire’s life, returned him to the maximum level of health possible, and extended the visionary’s time.