Organ Transplant at Columbia
The development of organ transplantation has been one of the greatest advances of modern medicine, but that doesn’t make the prospect of needing a transplant any less daunting. Our transplant programs are here to help you or your loved one navigate every step of the transplantation process. We’re here to answer your questions, provide you with support, and of course give you access to the best clinical care possible, from the most experienced and accomplished organ transplant doctors and surgeons in the world. At Columbia, you can count on us to take care of you, no matter your needs.
We perform thousands of transplants each year, including unique multi-organ procedures. Because of the experience and skill of our physicians, we can take on even the most complicated of cases—with results that put us among the top in the field.
Within all our transplant programs is a culture dedicated to research and innovation that’s constantly trying to come up with better solutions to improve long-term care. Our goal isn’t just to save lives, it’s to make those lives better.
Liver Transplant Program
Our liver transplant program gives patients the very best in comprehensive liver care. Built from the ground up with a multidisciplinary team, we can diagnose and provide treatment for any kind of liver condition, for both children and adults. If transplant surgery is needed, patients have access to the largest living donor liver program in the city, as well as a roster of highly experienced liver transplant surgeons.
Contact: (877) LIVER MD / 548-3763
Director: Tomoaki Kato, MD
Heart Transplant Program
For over 30 years, advanced heart failure patients have turned to our heart transplant program for the most effective and innovative treatments. Our team performs more transplants than almost any other program in the country and has invented multiple devices and techniques to extend and improve the lives of our patients.
Contact: (212) 305-7600
Director: Koji Takeda, MD, PhD
Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program
Our kidney and pancreas transplant program is one of the longest running and busiest programs in the country, as well as a significant national research center. Our multidisciplinary team takes care of patients who have a variety of end-stage kidney diseases, giving them a wide range of options for treatment. Thanks to our research advances, our patients get access to an expanded donor pool and reduced waiting time for organs.
Contact: (212) 305-6469
Director: Lloyd E. Ratner, MD, MPH, FACS
Lung Transplant Program
Patients with advanced lung disease need special attention and care. Fortunately, our lung transplant team has more experience and higher success rates than other programs, as well as an unparalleled history of innovation. Since the program was restructured in 2001, it has grown to become one of the largest in the United States, performing over 1,000 lung transplants. Our doctors have dramatically improved the care of our patients through new immunosuppressive agents, new antibiotics, refined surgical techniques, and a more comprehensive understanding of follow-up care. As a result, our patients are living longer and healthier lives than ever before.
Contact: (212) 305-7771
Director: Frank D'Ovidio, MD, PhD
Transplant research is where the most exciting innovations for our patients begin. To get more support for this research, we created the Transplant Forum. Made up of a diverse group of scientists, clinicians, patients, and families who are committed to improving the outcomes of transplant surgeries, this initiative raises critical funding for all of our transplant programs and also encourages others to give the gift of life through organ donation.
When Keith Reemtsma, M.D., became chairman of Columbia’s Surgery Department in 1971, surgery was seen as mostly a destructive discipline: it involved incisions, excisions, and amputation. Dr. Reemtsma had other ideas. After spearheading pioneering advances in heart and kidney transplantation in the 1960s (including chimpanzee-to-human transplants), Dr. Reemtsma wanted to build a surgery program that emphasized reconstruction, repair, replacement, and renewal.
This vision effectively kickstarted our organ transplant program. We began by performing kidney transplants, building the first transplant program run by a multidisciplinary team of both surgeons and medical kidney specialists. This led to breakthroughs in immunogenetics and immunosuppression, as well as the treatment of autoimmune diseases and lymphoma. All of our transplant services are now modeled after this multidisciplinary approach.
Other early initiatives include our heart transplant program, which performed the first successful pediatric heart transplant in 1984, as well as our lung transplant program, which began in 1985 and was rejuvenated in 2001 with a new multidisciplinary structure. Both of these have since gone on to introduce a string of improvements to patient care that have helped extend long-term survival rates. Then there’s our liver transplant program, which has been a leader in developing the practice of living donor surgery. As a result, our patients are 10 times more likely to receive a liver transplant than at other hospitals. We’ve also gone on to introduce one of New York’s only pancreas transplant programs, giving patients with severe diabetes an essential lifeline.
All this work has helped make us a premier destination for transplant surgery. But after 50 years of transplant innovations, our work still continues. We are actively conducting research across all areas of transplantation. The future of our program may well lay not in the transplantation of organs, but in the transplantation of cells, which have the potential to regenerate damaged tissue and eliminate the need for surgery altogether.
Each one of our organ transplant programs is led by doctors who have been recognized for their skill, experience, and compassion. For more information, click through to read their bios or view their contact information.
Jean C. Emond, MD
Chief of Transplantation
Executive Director, Transplant Initiative
Liver Transplant Leadership
Tomoaki Kato, MD
Chief, Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation
Surgical Director, Liver and Gastrointestinal Transplantation
Lorna M. Dove, MD, MPH
Chief, Division of Clinical Hepatology
Steven J. Lobritto, MD
Medical Director, Pediatric Liver Transplantation
Heart Transplant Leadership
Koji Takeda, MD, PhD
Director, Cardiac Transplant
Nir Uriel, MD, MSc
Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Leadership
Lloyd E. Ratner, MD, MPH, FACS
Director, Renal and Pancreatic Transplantation
David J. Cohen, MD
Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Leadership
Frank D'Ovidio, MD, PhD
Surgical Director, Lung Transplant Program
Selim M. Arcasoy, MD
Medical Program Director
We want you to stay informed and up to date so you can feel prepared for your or your loved one’s surgery. Explore the following resources to educate yourself.
- Liver Transplant Guide
- Heart Transplant Guides
- Kidney Transplant Guides
- Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Guides
- American Society of Transplantation »
- American Society of Transplant Surgeons »
- United Network for Organ Sharing »
We are always eager to answer your questions or help you schedule an appointment. You can contact individual programs using the following information:
- Liver Transplant Program: (877) LIVER MD / 548-3763
- Heart Transplant Program: (212) 305-7600
- Kidney and Pancreas Program: (212) 305-6469
- Lung Transplant Program: (212) 305-7771