OHSU has long been known for bringing cutting-edge care and medical firsts to Oregonians. Even as we chase after the medical breakthroughs of tomorrow we understand the importance of celebrating and learning from our past.
This December, our Heart Failure and Transplant Program at the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first heart transplant in Oregon, done at OHSU by renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Albert Starr.
Since the program’s first in December 1985, OHSU has performed over 650 heart transplants and continues to this day to be the only heart transplant center in Oregon.
Our team has established a tradition of providing outstanding care to heart transplant patients with many living a remarkable 10-20 years after the procedure.
Don Shirilla is a proud example of this tradition. Don was among the first few in Oregon to receive a heart transplant from Dr. Starr, more than 29 years ago.
“I had finished the Honolulu marathon just six months before I found out I needed a heart transplant. And I was able to run short races again after I recovered. I’m so grateful to Dr. Starr and the team at OHSU for a second chance at life and keeping me healthy to this day,” says Don.
Don’s transplant anniversaries bring him happy memories, as he reflects on how his transplant changed his outlook on life. It helped him build stronger relationships with family and friends.
“It taught us all to appreciate the good things we have.”
Take a look back at OHSU’s announcement of the first successful heart transplant in Oregon: