Stanford Children’s Health celebrates 500th pediatric heart transplant at Stanford

Mackenzie Collins was the 500th pediatric patient to undergo a heart transplant at Stanford Medicine.

- By Elizabeth Valente

A 14-year-old girl was the 500th pediatric heart transplant patient at Stanford.
Stanford Children's Health

Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is celebrating the 500th pediatric heart transplant at Stanford. The milestone has special significance since Stanford was the site of the first successful human heart transplant in the United States, performed by cardiothoracic surgeon Norman Shumway, MD, PhD, in 1968.

This holiday season, 14-year-old Mackenzie Collins, the 500th pediatric patient to receive a heart transplant at Stanford, will be celebrating a healthy heart at home with her family. The teen was diagnosed earlier this year with dilated cardiomyopathy by cardiologists at the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center.

“It was a huge shock to us because she was always active, playing basketball, running cross country. She’s a very outdoorsy girl,” said Tiffany Collins, Mackenzie’s mother. “For her to be such a success as the 500th transplant, it’s such a miracle."

“While it sounds strange that Mackenzie and her family were unaware of her heart failure, this is fairly common for teenagers with dilated cardiomyopathy,” said David Rosenthal, MD, director of the heart failure and heart transplant program at Stanford Children’s Health, also known as Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Therapies. “Mackenzie’s heart failure was already severe, so she was admitted into our PACT program.”

It took a multidisciplinary team of pediatric heart surgeons, transplant cardiologists, nurses, pediatric anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, and transport and transplant specialists to achieve the successful, six-hour, open-heart transplant.

“Our culture has always been to work together, to bring about the best outcome we can for patients, and that to me is why this is such a phenomenal heart program,” said Rosenthal, who is also a professor of pediatric cardiology at the Stanford School of Medicine

For nine straight years Stanford Children’s Health Pediatric Transplant Center has performed the highest volume of pediatric heart transplants in California, and has built a national reputation as a leader for pediatric single and multi-organ transplantation. This allows cardiologists and surgeons to take on the most difficult and complex cases, including many turned away by other centers, and continue to perfect heart transplant and ventricular assist device procedures — thus offering young patients the best possible outcomes, one heartbeat at a time.

The 500th heart transplant milestone is an opportunity to celebrate Stanford’s long-standing commitment to pediatric heart transplantation.

“It is incredibly gratifying to have reached this achievement, and it constitutes an accomplishment that speaks to our longevity as well as our volumes and expertise,” Rosenthal said. “Reflecting on the children we’ve helped motivates us to continue providing the very best care to children with heart failure and advancing the field.”

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

2024 ISSUE 1

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