History

The Section of Transplant Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine draws upon a long, successful history as it continues to help shape the future of transplantation.

The kidney transplant program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, begun by Washington University surgeons in 1963, can point to a number of milestones. The program performed its first:

  • Living related-donor kidney transplant in 1965
  • Living unrelated-donor kidney transplant in 1983
  • Combined liver/kidney transplant in 1988
  • Kidney-islet transplant in 1989

Washington University surgeons performed the first pediatric kidney transplant at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1964, and a kidney transplant program at the hospital was initiated in 1970.

In August 1985, Barnes-Jewish Hospital became the 16th hospital in the world with a liver transplant program. In 1996, Washington University transplant surgeons began performing adult living donor liver transplants, and the liver transplant program was the first in the U.S. to perform an adult living-unrelated donor liver transplant.

Transplant surgeons also began performing pediatric liver transplants at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1985. They now offer a number of innovative transplant procedures for children, including reduction of larger livers for infants, living-related transplants, split-liver transplants and multi-organ transplants.

In 2003, the liver transplant program entered a new phase of growth. Because of changes in the allocation of organs, surgeons are now able to use transplantation as an alternative to advanced liver disease from viral hepatitis (A, B and C; and non-A, B & C), primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, cryptogenic cirrhosis, Wilson's disease, hemochromatosis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, alcoholic liver disease, liver tumors and fulminant hepatic failure as well as other, less common diseases.

The program also has become an international leader in the field of islet cell transplantation, and transplant surgeons have initiated a solid pancreas transplant program.

Meanwhile, transplant surgeons continue groundbreaking research into image-guided liver surgery, tumor immunology and other areas of transplantation.