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Advanced Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support

Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute is setting a new standard for advanced heart therapy care by innovating across the care continuum—from early identification to post-therapy care.

Recent Highlights

Faster decisions for transplants and ventricular assist devices (VADs): We brought more than 13 specialties/departments together to streamline outpatient evaluations for transplants and VADs. We now complete these evaluations in two to three days and have reduced the time from referral to candidacy decision by more than 50 days.

Improving cardiogenic shock care: We developed local, multidisciplinary teams at three Atrium Health hospitals to respond rapidly to cardiogenic shock patients. Our MedCenter Air team is available to transport patients who need complex, high-acuity care, and we use ECMO and other MCS approaches to stabilize patients as needed.

Reducing post-transplant biopsies: We safely reduced the number of biopsies to nine or 10 in the first year after transplant, down from 16 to 20 in our previous protocol. We did this by incorporating echocardiogram and cardiac MRI, and by using blood tests that provide indirect measures of potential rejection. This could eventually eliminate the need for biopsies altogether.

Expanding donor organ access: Sanger started using the TransMedics Organ Care System (OCS™) to expand access to donors. This enables us to accept donations from a larger pool of donors by expanding our retrieval mileage and accepting donation after circulatory death (DCD) organs. This increases organ access and shortens transplant waits while allowing us to maintain high-quality outcomes.

Cardiac contractility modulation (CCM) therapy: The Optimizer® Smart Mini is a minimally invasive device implanted in heart failure patients who have moderate to severe symptoms. Patients are selected after they have been optimized on guideline-directed medical therapy. Sanger started implanting in 2021 and our patients saw an improvement in their New York Heart Association Functional Class because of CCM.

Awards and Recognition

  • U.S. News and World Report. Ranked as a high performing hospital in heart failure in 2023 to 2024.

  • The Joint Commission - National Quality Approval - Gold Seal.

    Disease Specific Certification from The Joint Commission

Heart Transplant Program

  • 51

    Adult Only

    UNOS, 2022

  • 727

    Since Program Inception

    UNOS, 2022

  • Chart depicting SHVI having improved 1 year survival rate of 98.1 percent in January 2023, up from 93.3 percent in January 2021.  And higher than expected 1 year survival rate of 92.4 percent, and national average of 91.3 percent.

  • 13 days

    Nationally: 18 days
    In-Hospital Length of Stay

    Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
    (SRTR) Jan 2023 Release

  • 3.8 months

    Nationally: 4.4 months
    Median Time on Waitlist

    Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
    (SRTR) Jan 2023 Release

  • 100%

    Nationally: 97%
    1-month Survival Rate

    Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
    (SRTR) Jan 2023 Release

Transplant and Durable Mechanical Circulatory Support

  • Bar chart showing heart transplants and VADs from 2018 to 2022: 26 heart transplants and 37 VADs in 2018; 22 heart transplants and 44 VADs in 2019; 27 heart transplants and 24 VADs in 2020; 28 heart transplants and 33 VADs in 2021; 51 heart transplants and 39 VADs in 2022.

  • +82%

    Annual Growth in Adult Heart Transplants
    Internal Data, 2022

  • 6.8%

    Heart Failure Medicare
    30-day Observed Mortality Rate

    Nationally: 11.2%
    Internal Data, 2022

  • +40%

    Annual Growth in VA ECMO Cases
    Internal Data, 2022

Sanger physicians performed their 700th adult heart transplant in April 2022.