The USC Transplant Institute hit a milestone in the latest calendar year, as its physicians performed 436 transplants in 2021, a new single-year record. The number is especially remarkable because, due to precautions during a COVID-19 surge, the transplant team performed only a handful of procedures during January of 2021.

“Essentially, we broke our record in 11 months,” said Jim Kim, MD, director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Keck Hospital of USC and associate professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

The 436 procedures include liver, kidney, pancreas, heart and lung transplants performed at Keck Hospital of USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). The heart team performed 41 transplants in 2021, up from 32 in 2020. There were more than 200 kidney transplants at Keck Hospital alone, with another 30 procedures performed at CHLA.

The USC Transplant Institute’s liver transplant program also topped the 200 mark.

“This year we have become a nationally prominent transplant center,” said Yuri Genyk, MD, chief of the division of hepatobiliary and abdominal transplant surgery and professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School. “This is possible because of the dedication, perseverance, hard work and compassion of the entire team.”

The combined volume of liver transplants performed at both Keck Hospital and CHLA adds up to the second-busiest liver transplant program in the nation, according to data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). When considering only procedures performed at CHLA by USC Transplant Institute physicians, it is the No. 2 pediatric program in the nation by volume. The living-donor liver transplantation volume has moved up to No. 4 in the nation. If living-donor liver transplantations at CHLA are included, it brings the volume up to third in the nation.

“So many people are involved in our success,” Kim said. “Surgeons, nephrologists, hepatologists, people in the OR, everyone who helps get the patients ready and get us into the rooms, nurses, coordinators, administration — everyone can take pride in this.”

— Lex Davis