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USC Heart Transplant Program Receives Award

USC Heart Transplant Program Receives Award

USC University Hospital received a Heart Transplant Excellence Award from the independent health care ratings organization HealthGrades, ranking among the top 1 percent of hospitals in the United States that perform heart transplants.

The top-rated hospitals for organ transplantation based on patient outcomes were identified for the first time by HealthGrades and are available at

USC University Hospital was one of only two heart transplant centers to receive the award out of 141 hospitals evaluated in the category. USC University Hospital was also the only Southern California hospital included in the ratings.

“We are very proud that our heart transplant program has been ranked in the top 1 percent nationally based on our consistently high survival rate,” said Vaughn A. Starnes, chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and surgeon-in-chief of USC University Hospital. “The award highlights the excellent work of our surgeons and staff and the program’s ongoing dedication to our patients.”

Hospitals with transplant programs received HealthGrades Transplant Excellence awards if they had a statistically significantly higher three-year survival rate than the national average, based on data calculated by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Award recipients also had to have waitlist mortality that was either not significantly different than expected or that was significantly lower than expected based on registry calculations. Of the 266 hospitals evaluated, 20 hospitals received the award for 22 programs performing liver, kidney, heart or lung transplantation.

“The heart transplant program started in 1993 with the philosophy that we would focus on creating the highest-quality transplant center that was not only concerned with getting the patient through the high-risk operation and peri-operative period, but that would also ensure that these complex patients would receive state-of-the-art, long-term care,” said Mark Barr, co-director of cardiothoracic transplantation and associate professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine. “The award from HealthGrades recognizes the importance of survival beyond the first year, which is obviously something that the patients and their families are also concerned with. The fact that we have had statistically better results than the national average over multiple years highlights the tremendous team effort and organization that is involved in maintaining a successful transplant program.”

A large part of the program’s strength is the ability to apply clinical and translational research directly to patient care, which has had a definite positive effect on patient outcomes, he noted.

Chief executive officer Mitch Creem noted that USC University Hospital also was recently listed as one of the top hospitals in the nation by Consumer Reports.

“People look to consumer-focused Web sites like for information that will assist them in making more informed choices for their health care,” Creem said. “We’re very pleased to see a continuing trend of USC University Hospital being recognized for providing outstanding patient care.”

USC University Hospital is a private, 411-bed acute care hospital staffed by The Doctors of USC, who are also faculty members at the Keck School of Medicine.

The USC heart transplantation program provides transplant services for patients with end-stage cardiac disease for whom other medical or surgical therapies are not advisable.

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USC Heart Transplant Program Receives Award

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