Some historic heart-related news on Valentine's Day, as UCSF has recorded the first heart transplant performed entirely by a team of women — a first for the school, and possibly the first in history.
The historic nature of a heart transplant surgery performed at UCSF Parnassus this past December did not occur to anyone in the room at the time of the surgery. It was not until after the procedure that UCSF cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Amy Fiedler says she noted to colleagues, "Hey, this is pretty crazy, we’re all women on the team," and "We’ve never been part of anything like this before." Because, as the Chronicle notes in a Valentine's Day article about hearts in the clinical sense, it was the first all-woman heart transplant surgery team in the 159-year history of UCSF, and possibly the first ever anywhere.
Thx to the @sfchronicle for sharing this amazing story about our incredible team @UCSFSurgery @UCSFCTSurgery @UCSFHospitals on Valentines Day!! ❤️🫀— Amy Fiedler, MD (@FiedlerAmy) February 14, 2023
‘This is a first’: Why a 5-hour heart transplant at UCSF made history https://t.co/k9fpXdL6xv
“The patient, the surgeon, the cardiac anesthesiologist, the perfusionist and all the fellows and nurses were female,” as the Chronicle explains. “If the donor was a female, which is information not released, that would make nine.”
The patient learned of this after the procedure, having seen a social media post that coincided with the timing of her own heart transplant surgery
“I knew that was me,” San Francisco woman Fatou Gaye told the Chronicle, adding that it “makes me feel so happy and proud that women can and do get it all done.” The Chron identifies the entire surgical team as “Fiedler, Dr. Laura Scrimgeouer, Dr. Jaqueline Measer, Dr. Charlene Blake, perfusionist Ashley Risso, registered nurse Ruiza Coronel, and a contract nurse.”
It’s not possible to know whether this was the first all-woman team to perform a heart transplant surgery, as statistics are only kept on patients, not on the attending staff. But we do know it's the first at UCSF, as Dr. Fiedler is the first female heart transplant surgeon at UCSF.
But the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nationwide organization that matches organ donors with recipients, has been monitoring all 88,000 heart transplants in the U.S. going back to 1988. A representative from that organization tells the Chronicle this was “likely” the first all-woman team.
We performed our 20,000th organ transplant! Our transplant program started in the 1960s & has some of the highest patient survival rates in the country. Congrats to our entire transplant team & the patient, who is recovering after receiving a new heart! https://t.co/6QpVcWHYrj— UCSF Health (@UCSFHospitals) December 14, 2022
And in a coincidental historical aside, the day after this all-women team performed that heart transplant, UCSF also recorded its 20,000th organ transplant, though that surgery was performed by a separate team.