This is the largest hospital for cardiovascular disease treatment, research, and education in China. It began its clinical practice in heart and lung transplantation in 1994. It began performing heart transplants as a routine procedure in 2004 with a specialized team, and has performed the most heart transplants in the country. It is also one of the largest heart transplant centers in the world.19
The hospital’s website states that it has refined a set of conventions for heart transplantation. Most patients successfully recover after surgery, can begin walking after 2~3 days, and can be discharged after 2~3 weeks.20
Its website also publicly lists the costs of a heart transplant. Based on current figures, the perioperative cost for each patient average around 250,000 RMB. Fees for postoperative immunosuppressants average 3,000~5,000 RMB per month.21
The transplant center has strong capabilities: 22
The hospital president Hu Shengshou is a PhD advisor, a chief scientist under the National 973 Program, and one of the hospital’s three primary lead surgeons in heart transplantation.
Song Yunhu, chief surgeon in charge of the heart transplant center, is also one of the hospital’s three main lead surgeons in heart transplantation. He studied cardiac surgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia in 1998. He also received training at various heart centers in the United States, Canada, Germany, and other countries.
Wang Wei is a chief surgeon of the transplant center, a PhD advisor, and one of the hospital’s three main lead surgeons in heart transplantation. He is currently involved in key heart transplant research projects under the Ministry of Science and Technology’s “Eleventh Five-Year Plan” Support Program.
Huang Jie, chief of the heart transplant ward and chief physician, is responsible for selection, targeted preoperative treatment, and postoperative follow-up and management of heart transplant patients. She studied heart and lung transplantation at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia in 2006.
Its official website says the transplant center has only 2 dedicated transplantation operating rooms, 6 postoperative ICU beds, 12 regular beds, a team of 3 renowned cardiac surgical specialists, 2 trained full-time transplant doctors, relatively dedicated ICU nurses, and 15 ward nurses.23
Based on its two to three-week hospitalization period, even if the figures of 12 beds and 6 ICU beds were not underreported, the center can accommodate about 300-450 heart transplants per year. Thus, even one operating room would have been more than enough, and a second one would not be needed.
However, Song’s profile indicates that the Fuwai Cardiovascular Hospital Heart Transplant Center completed 440 heart transplants between June 2004 and July 2014, and that it performed 60 in 2010, 52 in 2011, 46 in 2012, 65 in 2013,24 and 81 in 2014.25
If these numbers are true, then five beds, one operating room, and one doctor would have been more than enough.
We have observed that the main heart transplant centers in China all have records of performing multiple transplants in one day. For example, two doctors at Xi’an Jiaotong University each has a record of performing 3 heart transplants in one day. Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University has a record of carrying out 4 transplants in one day. Fuwai Hospital’s online figure implying one heart transplant every 4 to 5 days does not match its claim of having “performed the most heart transplants in the country.”