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UF Health Shands liver transplant program outcomes show best 1-year survival rates

Medical professionals in blue scrubs perform a liver transplant in an operating room. Dr. Thiago Beduschi wears a Florida Gators surgical cap and is wearing a pair of specialized glasses that magnify the surgical area.

University of Florida Health is home to the liver transplant program with the highest one-year liver graft survival in the United States, according to a report released this month by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

At 98.97%, the program’s success rate outstrips the national survival rate of 91.89%.

Put simply: A patient who undergoes a liver transplant at UF Health Shands Hospital is not only more likely to survive and recover from a difficult procedure, but also to continue to thrive a year later. At UF, the chance of graft failure in the first year is 75% lower than national average, according to SRTR.

“The initial procedure, and how well it is executed, is one key to a smooth recovery,” said Thiago Beduschi, M.D., director of the abdominal transplant program and chief of transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery at UF Health. “But it is the skills, and experience of the teams we work with that allow us to take on some of the most complex cases, and not only treat them, but see the patients go on to live fulfilling lives far beyond what they dreamed was possible at the time of diagnosis.”

Throughout preoperative planning and the actual surgery, Beduschi said he thinks about what the patient’s life will be like after they go home.

“A transplant is meant to be life-changing,” he said. “And the key part of that is ‘life’ … a successful transplant, to me, is one whose success stands the test of time.”

Not content with also achieving competitive outcomes in time to transplant and patient survival, Beduschi has spearheaded UF Health’s foray into multiorgan transplants. In fact, in 2022 UF Health was in the top five multiorgan transplant centers for volume for all multi-organs and top three for liver-kidney transplants, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

“Our patients come from everywhere. Often, they come to us with a prognosis that can be very dire,” Beduschi said. “Whether it is a liver transplant, or a liver-kidney transplant, or even a triple-organ transplant, I am lucky to work with a team who is more than up for the challenge and an institution that does not spare resources if it will save a patient’s life.”

Each patient is different, requiring the focus and expertise of the transplant program’s multidisciplinary approach. On each case, Beduschi and his team consult with nurse coordinators, transplant assistants, social workers, financial counselors, transplant pharmacists, anesthesiologists, intensivists, hepatologists, nephrologists and psychologists.

“My team puts the people we treat first,” Beduschi said. “These outcomes are wonderful, but they are also the natural result of prioritizing our patients and their families. It is a privilege to be able to save a life, and I am proud to say my team never forgets this.”

About the author

Dorothy Hagmajer
Science Writer

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