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For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Celebrates 20th Anniversary of First Heart Transplant

Children’s two longest-surviving recipients from the 1980s come back to share their stories

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s first heart transplant. Children’s has performed over 160 heart transplants, making it one of the most active pediatric heart transplantation centers in the world.

A special Grand Rounds lecture will be held on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 at 8 a.m. Children’s two oldest survivors will be special guests and a series of speakers will give a 20-year overview of pediatric heart transplantation.

As the only comprehensive pediatric cardiology service in western Pennsylvania, members of the Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Departments and cardiac specialists in Critical Care Medicine, as well as the Anesthesiology Department, collaborate to offer one of the best pediatric heart services in the country. Children’s cardiology and cardiothoracic services have been caring for children with heart disease for more than 35 years, and was one of the first hospitals to perform pediatric heart transplants.

“We were one of the few centers to perform pediatric heart transplants in the early 1980s. Since then, we have consistently been one of the most successful pediatric heart transplant centers in the country,” said Eugene Wiener, MD, Children’s medical director. “I credit our successful outcomes to the individual and collective expertise of our multidisciplinary team approach.”

Steven Webber, MBChB, medical director of Children’s Pediatric Heart and Heart-Lung Transplantation Program, said although many people consider heart disease a problem that only affects older adults, approximately 40,000 children are born with a heart defect each year.

The true results of the heart transplant team’s hard work can be found in our patient success stories. Anneliese Kiendl, 28, of New York, is Children’s second oldest surviving heart transplant recipient. Since receiving her heart transplant in 1985, Anneliese now attends Queensboro Community College. She is working on getting her master’s degree in social work.

"So many people cared for me at Children’s Hospital that I was inspired to join the medical profession. I want to give something back," said Anneliese, who will speak at Grand Rounds. For patients like Anneliese, heart transplantation can offer a new chance at life. Today, 17 years after her transplant, Anneliese calls the staff at Children’s, “my second family who was always there when I needed them. They not only gave me life, they also held my hand through it all.”

All speakers will be available for interviews following the event.

Melanie Tush Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008