This Date in UCSF History: UCSF to begin heart transplants

Originally reported in Synapse on September 29, 1988. UCSF will begin conducting heart transplants this fall, Dr. Haile Debas, chairman of the Department of Surgery, announced on Sept. 21.

Among Bay Area hospitals, only Stanford University in Palo Alto and Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center in San Francisco currently offer the service.

The new capacity would augment UCSFs existing kidney and liver transplant centers.

“We’re hoping to get started before the new year,” says Dr. Frank Hanley, a member of the transplant team.

“We’re hoping to perform as many transplants as possible, but at least 15 per year,” he adds.

“The limiting factor is donors rather than recipients. The medical cardiologists here have an ongoing interest in managing end-stage heart failure. That would present a pool of potential recipients.”

Hanley explained for most such patients, heart transplant is the only viable therapy.