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Published: Jan 5, 2009

By Tampa General Hospital


Tampa (January 5, 2009) - In what is viewed as a significant milestone for its transplant program, surgeons at Tampa General Hospital successfully completed more than 100 liver transplants during 2008. Dr. John Leone, a transplant surgeon with the LifeLink HealthCare Institute, transplanted the 100th liver December 23 during a five hour procedure December 23 on a 63-year-old man. The patient was placed on the transplant list November 3. Leone described the procedure as “a textbook case” and said: “The significance of this milestone is that it puts our program among the elite in the nation with regard to volume.” Dr. Angel Alsina, the surgical director of the liver transplant program and LifeLink physician, said that while achieving 100 transplants in a year is significant the real value lies in the prospects for the future of the program. “There are probably 17 programs in the country out of about 140 that can do 100 or more transplants a year,” Alsina said. “The important part of this is not the number, but the opportunities we can now provide as a result of reaching this milestone.” Alsina said higher volumes provide much better outcomes for patients and shortens the time patient stay on the organ procurement waiting list. Higher volumes also allow physicians to conduct clinical research trials that could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of liver disease. Tampa General Hospital through its partnership with the LifeLink performed its first liver transplant in December 1996. Since then it has transplanted 851 livers. In 2007, Tampa General’s liver transplant program ranked 19th in the country. In 2004, the Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards setting and accrediting body in health care, awarded its “Gold Seal of Approval” to the liver transplant program for its quality of patient care. Tampa General is a 958-bed acute care hospital on the west coast of Florida that serves as the region’s only center for level I trauma care, comprehensive burn care and adult solid organ transplants. It is the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida College of Medicine. TGH is also one of only eight comprehensive stroke centers in Florida and is a state-certified spinal cord and head injury rehabilitation center.