UTMC Completes Record 200 Kidney Transplants in 2022

Dr. Obi Ekwenna

Special to The Truth

The University of Toledo Medical Center completed a record 200 successful kidney transplants in 2022 while maintaining its status as one of the fastest kidney transplant programs in the country.

“These are life-changing procedures,” said Dr. Obi Ekwenna, transplant surgeon at UTMC and associate professor. “We’re proud of these milestones, but what this is really about is getting more people off dialysis and significantly improving their quality of life.”

The 200 transplants completed in 2022 represent a 15% increase from the 174 done in 2021 and are more than double the number of procedures the hospital performed in 2019.

UTMC, which completed its first kidney transplant in 1972, has grown its transplant program in each of the last five years.

The hospital also completed the region’s first robotic-assisted kidney transplant surgery in April of last year, putting UTMC among a select group of hospitals nationwide offering the innovative, less invasive surgery.

The number of kidney transplants nationally has been trending upward for several years, with 2022 marking the first time the total has exceeded 25,000, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. However, many patients still spend years waiting on a suitable kidney.

Nationally, the median time patients spend between getting on a waitlist and receiving a transplant is nearly three years.

At UTMC, the average time is a little more than four months.

UTMC also received improved marks for patient outcomes in 2022. In July, the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients awarded the hospital a four out of five rating for one-year kidney survival following a transplant.

One-year kidney survival is an important metric that speaks to the long-term success of the transplant.

The hospital maintained that four out of five rating in the most recent SRTR report, which was released earlier this month and covers a period from July 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2021.

UTMC is currently the only transplant center in Ohio rated a four and none in the state received a five rating.

“We have built a really solid, world-class program here with an amazing team,” Ekwenna said. “Patient safety remains at the forefront of everything that we’re doing as we continue to grow and innovate.”