Health Team

Duke celebrates heart transplant record

Posted September 7, 2014 3:40 p.m. EDT

— Almost 200 heart transplant recipients gathered at Durham's Washington Duke Inn Sunday to celebrate their new lease on life and a milestone for the hospital that gave it to them.

Over 29 years, 1,000 people have gotten a new heart at Duke University Hospital, and Sunday's celebration saw the greatest number of heart transplant recipients ever gathered in one place.

Over the years, advances in technology have helped increase the number of patients eligible for a donor heart, and better communication between doctors and families has increased the number of willing donors.

According to Duke heart transplant specialist Dr. Chet Patel, improved techniques for matching donors and recipients have expanded the ability for Duke to find suitable donor hearts for its patients.

“Despite all the innovations in terms of donor and recipient matching, we still have a deficit in the number of organs that we can get every year,” said Patel.