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Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center Abdominal Transplant Center Among Nation's Best in Liver Transplant Outcomes

January 26, 2016

Milwaukee, Wis.Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center's Organ Transplant Program ranks among the nation's best for liver transplant outcomes, according to the most recent data available from the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients (SRTR).

The Aurora St. Luke's Transplant Program's Hazard Ratio for both Death and Graft Loss ranks in the top 5th percentile and top 3rd percentile respectively, ahead of leading academic medical programs from across the nation and the best in Wisconsin.

At one year following organ transplant, Aurora St. Luke's observed graft survival rate was 93.83 percent (8th percentile nationally), with a Hazard Ratio for Graft Loss of only 0.59, indicating 41% lower risk for Graft Loss compared to what was expected based on modeling transplant outcomes from all U.S. programs.

A Hazard Ratio value of greater than 1.0 indicates higher than expected Graft Loss rates and a value lower than 1.0 indicates lower than expected Graft Loss rates. These metrics are stronger than leading transplant centers at places like The Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, as well as all transplant programs in Wisconsin.

Dr. Ajay Sahajpal, medical director of the abdominal transplant program at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, attributes the liver program's success to a number of factors, including a commitment to quality, a dynamic team and tremendous partnerships with organ procurement organizations.

"The Aurora St. Luke's Transplant program is solely focused on providing the best outcomes possible for people in need of organs," said Sahajpal. "Our team's commitment to patients and their families is built on ensuring we are diligent both in how we welcome patients into our program and how we work with organ procurement organizations like the Donor Network of Wisconsin to carefully find the right organs for the right candidates. We are constantly looking at how to improve the care we provide through innovation and better processes, and our liver outcomes scores are a testament to this focus on innovation."

On an annual basis, the abdominal transplant program at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center performs roughly 40 liver transplants each year, as well as strong kidney and pancreas transplant programs.

The Aurora Heart Transplant team is also an industry leader, having performed Wisconsin's first heart transplant in 1968, and has since performed more than 850 total heart transplants.

Aurora Surgeon Pioneers Double Transplant Technique

Health care innovation continues to contribute to better patient outcomes for the Aurora St. Luke's Organ Transplant Team.

Dr. Ajay Sahajpal has recently helped to implement a new surgical technique for patients that require both a kidney and liver. Sahajpal is the first surgeon in the U.S. to utilize the new technique called En Bloc, where the kidney and liver are stitched together in the back table preparation area and then implanted with a singular incision into a patient's upper abdomen.

The organs are then transplanted as a single implant, versus the traditional technique where each organ is implanted through two separate incisions. En Bloc allows organs to better adapt to the patient's body, and patients typically see faster recovery times because of the single incision.

"En Bloc is a great example of how we are changing the way we help transplant patients," added Sahajpal. "By understanding the dynamics of organs and how the human body will react better to a singular incision, this new technique provides patients shorter procedures and faster recovery times, which can mean faster recovery times and patients home sooner to their loved ones."

To learn more about the Organ Transplant Program at Aurora Health Care, visit

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, 159 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.

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Matt Braun
(414) 299-1547

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