Transplant Center reaches milestone: 5,000 kidney transplants

UC Davis

UC Davis Health

reached an institutional milestone in August, surpassing 5,000 kidney transplants performed since its first almost 37 years ago.

Established in 1985, the UC Davis Transplant Center performed 282 kidney transplants in 2021, making UC Davis Health one of the top 10 centers in the nation for total kidney transplants.

This UC Davis Health milestone comes on the heels of the announcement from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) that the United States hit its one millionth transplant — a world record – since the first transplant, a kidney, was performed in Boston in 1954.

Richard Perez

This is a testament to our dedicated team who have helped us develop innovative ways to help patients achieve a transplant. It is that dedication that has led us to be recognized as one of America’s top transplant centers.”-Richard Perez

“We celebrate the one millionth organ transplant patient in the United States, and we are extremely proud to have achieved our own milestone in serving 5,000 patients with a kidney transplant,” said Richard V. Perez, medical director of the UC Davis Transplant Center. “This is a testament to our dedicated team members who have helped us develop innovative ways to help patients achieve a transplant. It is that dedication that has led us to be recognized as one of America’s top transplant centers.”

One of the 5,000 lives saved

Behind the statistics are people like Daniel Cuevas, who received a kidney last year as part of a six-way ‘chain’ kidney transplant through UC Davis Health’s paired kidney exchange program. The program matches incompatible donor-recipient pairs with other pairs, and they exchange donors.

Daniel Cuevas wearing blue shirt with people in the background
Daniel Cuevas received a kidney as part of a six-way ‘chain’ kidney transplant through UC Davis Health’s paired kidney exchange program.

“To be the recipient of a kidney is very humbling. There is no way to repay that other than taking the best care of this new organ I have that is going to help me live and spend time with my family,” said Cuevas. “Kidneys are a small commodity – as there are almost 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waitlist. I feel fortunate to have had the care I received at UC Davis and have this opportunity to extend my life.”

Recently, UC Davis Health was selected as a model hospital by the UNOS. The health system was also chosen to guide national best practices for transplant by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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