The UTAH Cardiac Transplant Program celebrates 35 years of giving the gift of life

Posted at 1:29 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 15:29:28-05


That’s the number of live-saving heart transplants the UTAH (Utah Affiliated Transplant Hospitals) Cardiac Transplant Program – a unique collaborative transplant group from Intermountain Healthcare (intermountain Medical Center and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital), University of Utah Health, and the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Medical Center in Salt Lake City – have performed in the past 35 years.

Patients, family members, clinicians, other caregivers, and community leaders are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the nationally-leading transplant program – and 1,549 heart transplants performed in more than three decades of saving lives for heart patients in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West.

The UTAH Cardiac Transplant Program is one of the most successful collaborative heart transplant programs in the nation and is frequently cited as a model for other transplant programs. UTAH Cardiac Transplant Program surgeons have performed 1,549 successful heart transplants since its first cardiac transplant in 1985 at University of Utah Hospital.

UTAH Cardiac is the only heart transplant program in the Intermountain West and has given thousands of patients a new lease on life. The program has one-year, five-year and 10-year survival rates that exceed national averages and physicians have published studies in hundreds of high-profile publications.

The program is a unique model because it leverages the skill, expertise, and resources of medical teams from all four member hospitals. This cooperation helps contain costs by eliminating replication and it enhances clinical expertise.

Every patient awaiting a transplant is reviewed by the UTAH Cardiac team which ensures donor hearts are matched with the most appropriate recipients.

These 1,549 gifts of life would not be possible without donors.

In Utah, you may register to be a donor at Although your registration is legal consent for donation, it is advisable to talk to your family about your wishes. This conversation will give them comfort and a positive direction should this become a reality.