Tufts Medical Center breaks own New England record with 61 adult heart transplants in 2023

BOSTON — Tufts Medical Center announced Monday that it completed 61 adult heart transplants in 2023, breaking its own regional record and becoming the first-ever center in New England to reach that benchmark in one calendar year, officials said.

The new regional record eclipses Tufts Medical Center’s own year-end mark of 56, set in 2016. Prior to that year, the previous New England high of 37 adult heart transplants had stood since 1991.

“This achievement is a testament to the dedication and tireless work of Drs. Vest, DeNofrio and Couper and their talented team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiac nurses, transplant coordinators and countless support staff,” Dr. Marvin Konstam, chief physician executive of The CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center, said in a statement. “I was privileged to be present for our very first heart transplant in 1985, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see our program grow and thrive in the years since, ultimately becoming the gold standard for this lifesaving procedure in the New England region.”

Since the year 2000, Tufts Medical Center has performed the most adult heart transplants in New England (657), outpacing the next-closest center by 60 such transplants during that time, officials said.

“Over the years, we have been fortunate to have built and maintained a culture of mutual trust and respect with cardiologists and heart failure specialists at centers throughout New England,” Dr. David DeNofrio, director of Heart Failure Network Development at Tufts Medical Center, said in a statement. “Our colleagues know our program has a longstanding reputation for individualized, compassionate care and excellent outcomes, and their patients will be in the best of hands when referred to our team.”

Tufts Medical Center has performed adult heart transplants since 1985, completing a total of 750 of these transplants over the past 38 years, officials said.

“It’s a privilege to work with so many skilled, experience, compassionate professionals. It makes reaching a milestone like this that much more gratifying,” Dr. Gregory Couper, surgical director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program and Cardiac Transplantation Program at Tufts Medical Center, said in a statement. “We want patients with heart failure to rest assured that, if and when they need a new heart, they are in the very best of hands with our team.”

According to the United Network For Organ Sharing Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network data, adult heart transplants nationwide increased by more than 11 percent in 2023, compared to 2022 data. With 4,039 total adult heart transplants across the country in 2023, the U.S. surpassed the 4,000 mark in a calendar year for the first time ever.

“Every heart transplant is a life-changing event for the patient and their family,” Amanda Vest, medical director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program at Tufts Medical Center, said in a statement. “It means weddings and graduations attended, birthdays and anniversaries celebrated, and a chance to cherish children and grandchildren, that the patient otherwise may not have lived to see. I am truly proud and honored that we have played a role in helping make so many of these memories become a reality this year.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW