Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute Performs 1,000th Heart Transplant, Reaching Prestigious Milestone

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute’s heart transplant program performed its 1,000th heart transplant on Thursday, Oct. 5, becoming only the 23rd hospital in the country to reach the prestigious milestone. The team performed the transplant on a 53-year-old man from Columbia, Mo.

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute has been recognized as the leader of heart transplantation in the region for nearly 40 years, with a legacy of success treating patients with advanced heart failure. Only 143 out of 6,129 hospitals in the U.S. perform heart transplants.

The program ranks among the top 15 for number of adult heart transplants nationwide over the past decade and number one in the Kansas City area, with a three-year survival rate 36% better than the national average. U.S. News & World Report ranked Saint Luke’s Cardiology, Heart & Vascular Surgery among the top 50 in the nation in 2023 – 2024.

“We truly could not have reached this milestone without the dedication of everyone involved and the comprehensive expertise available right here in Kansas City at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute,” said Jessica Heimes, DO, Surgical Director, Cardiac Transplantation at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “From our heart failure to transplant teams, critical care to rehabilitation, nursing, and more, there are so many people who have had a hand in making this possible. Through 1,000 transplants and counting, we are honored to have made a positive impact on these patients’ lives.”

Heart Institute patients have shorter wait times for transplant, with a median time of one month compared to four months nationally. This is in part due to altruistic donor families, the Midwest Transplant Network, and the experience of the Saint Luke’s transplant team.  

“Time and time again, our patients have amazed us with the incredible things they’ve gone on to do post-transplant,” said Andrew Kao, MD, Medical Director, Cardiac Transplantation at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “None of that would be possible without the selfless act of generosity from the donor families, giving another person a second chance at life. They are the silent heroes here.”

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute was named a Heart Transplant Center of Excellence by Clinical Sciences Institute (CSI) of Optum.

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About Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute
Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, a part of Saint Luke’s Health System and a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, is one of the distinguished cardiovascular programs in the country. Its legacy of innovation began more than 40 years ago when it opened as the nation’s first freestanding heart hospital. Since then, the Heart Institute has earned a global reputation for excellence in the treatment of heart disease, including interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failure, transplant, heart disease prevention, cardiometabolic disease, women’s heart disease, electrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics. Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute cardiologists offer personalized cardio-oncology care, where our experts diagnose and treat heart conditions in patients who have been or are being treated for cancer.

With more than 100 full-time board-certified cardiovascular specialists on staff, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute offers one of the country's largest heart failure and heart transplant programs, has the largest experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the Midwest, and is a global teaching site for the newest approaches in coronary revascularization. The Heart Institute's cardiovascular research program encompasses clinical areas as well as centers of excellence and core laboratories. It continues to serve as one of the four Analytic Centers, along with Duke, Harvard, and Yale, for the American College of Cardiology's National Cardiovascular Data Registry.

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute is ranked 47th in the nation for Cardiology, Heart & Vascular Surgery by U.S. News & World Report and is the third hospital in the U.S. to achieve Comprehensive Cardiac Center certification from The Joint Commission. Follow Saint Luke’s Health System: Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn