Abdominal Organ Transplant Program Celebrates 50 Years and Sets New Record

January 22, 2021

During the 2020 calendar year, 262 patients received kidney and/or pancreas transplants at Wake Forest Baptist Health, which is the highest annual total in the 50-year history of Wake Forest Baptist’s Abdominal Organ Transplant Program.

Wake Forest Baptist surgeons performed 241 kidney transplants (33 with living donors) and 21 kidney-pancreas transplants, along with one heart-kidney transplant in conjunction with the heart transplant team.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center performs more kidney and pancreas transplants than any other transplant center in North Carolina, and according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, is one of the largest transplant centers in a five-state region and one of the 20 most active in the United States.

“Even though we are seeing an increased number of donors and recipients who are older and who have complex conditions, we are very pleased that we’ve been able to continually increase the number of patients we serve while maintaining excellent outcomes,” said Robert J. Stratta, M.D., professor of surgery and director of Wake Forest Baptist’s Abdominal Organ Transplant Program. “In addition, the length of time patients have to wait for a transplant at our center is much lower than most other centers in the state, and most of our recipients are able to return home within four days after receiving a kidney transplant.”

In the past 50 years, Wake Forest Baptist surgeons have performed more than 4,000 kidney transplants since Jesse Meredith, M.D., transplanted the first kidney at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in December 1970.

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to the transplant community, I am extremely grateful to our team for their ability to adapt and keep our donors and recipients safe during these uncertain times,” Stratta said. 

Media contacts: Joe McCloskey, jmcclosk@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-1273; Eryn Johnson, eryjohns@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-8228.