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Where should your transplant be done?

My husband just started his wait for a transplant at a hospital that has done a total of 300 or so transplants and average wait time is approximately 11 months....probably longer for him because hes tall and a big man.

I started looking online and realized there are hospitals who have done well over 1000 transplants and some with average wait times of 3 months.

With this being the most serious thing he will probably ever go thru I think it would be to his advantage to go where the most experience is. He feels the same way.

Anyone have an opinion  on this or has anyone done this?

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  • I recieved my liver at Baylor Univ Medical Center in Dallas.  My wait was only (now get this) 2-hours.  Baylor has done over 3000 livers.  Not sure about heart/lung.  You could find out.

    I'm sure there are many that are good, but for a central Tx patient, Baylor is an excellent choice.

    • WOW!!  I wish hearts were that fast! We have been waiting over 7 months now and hoping it comes soon! Congratulations to you and I hope you are doing well.

  • I was listed at 4 different transplant centers 3 of which have the shortest wait times in the country.  I was told that I would wait 3-4 years at the Integris Transplant center in OK,  I was transplanted 2.5 months after being listed at the Fort Worth Transplant Center in Texas with a kidney that was a 100% match.  Do not waste any time, get listed at multiple transplant centers,  If you can afford the expense to charter a plane, do not let distance be a factor.  One of the transplant centers I was listed at was a 10+ hour drive but less than 3 hours via a air charter.  The cost would have been 8-12 k but we were willing to bear the cost if it got me a kidney faster.  Please contact me if you want to know anything about my experience at OKKIDNEYDONER at gmail.  I will return your call if you email a contact phone number.  You can read more about my experience here

    Another thing i would recommend that you consider is transferring your wait time from the first place you were listed to the transplant center you select after being placed on the list.

    Look closely at Methodist in Des Moine, they are just over 5 hour from you, I was listed there and there wait time was less nthan 6 mionths.  Lincoln NB is also progably within driving distance.  This website has approx wait times and is very helpful and much easier to understand than the statistical reports from approx OPTN 


  • We chose a facility about 100 miles away. Since we did not have the possibility of doing the transplant here in Springfield, Illinois, because at the time, they had no transplant surgeon, we were given the choices of University of Chicago or Barnes in St. Louis because both were what our insurance companies called centers of excellence. (In other words, they had done a lot of transplants)  For one thing, St Louis was closer by a hundred miles and I did not relish the idea of driving in Chicago traffic. In addition to this we did some research and thought that St Louis would be better. I have never regretted my decision. Now they do transplants in Springfield after several years hiatus, and in fact, instead of going to St Louis every six months, I see a nephrologist here for one of those appointments, which makes it a little easier on the wallet.

  • I chose a facility about 100 miles away rather than going to a hospital less than 1/2 the distance. I did a lot of research on success rates, volume, and overall ranking, etc. I went to UW Madison, they ranked somewhere around #4 in the country and have done 10,000 transplants since the 1960's.  I personally was willing to travel to a location I had the most confidence in. I find the 2-hour drive to be well worth it. If you identify a facility that really impresses you then I say go for it. I was told I'll have about 4-follow up's the first year which sounds manageable. Going in for my first follow up tomorrow (3 1/2 weeks after TX).

  • You might look at:

    1) Who has done the most in your area first and 2) then worry about your location. I live in Springfield, Illinois and my transplant was done in St. Louis, Missouri, which is a hundred miles from my home. It was only a remote problem when I was first transplanted. Then, my visits needed to be less often. I had a kidney transplant, which might be a little different than with your hubby, but if you are worried about centers of excellence (hospitals who have done more transplants) then approach the problem that way. Good luck!

  • I would say that you should go to one that is the closest to you that does a lot of transplants of his type.

    • Thanks! That would be Seton in Austin but they haven't done many in comparison to a lot of others.

  • Hi Mary, I understand your concerns for your husband's situation. I am almost 5 yrs. post-tx for a liver. I am unaware of where you live but would strongly suggest researching Piedmont Hospital. In Atlanta,, Ga. They have a long list of liver, kidney and heart tx patients. The staff is extremely efficient in all areas dealing with patient transplants. Their success rate for 1 yr. and 5 yr. is excellent and published so you could get the information. They also have a patient family hotel facility on site that my family used during my surgery/recovery. Best of luck to you and your husband.
    • Thank you so much! I will check it out. We live in central TX but will travel wherever we need for him to get the best care. Your information has been very helpful and I appreciate it!

      Congratulations on your transplant!

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