Ronald Reagan Medical Center led the nation last year in the number of organ transplants, with 641 surgeries performed at its Westwood campus.

UCLA Health announced July 16 it led in overall kidney, liver, pancreas, lung, heart and intestine transplants based on data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

The hospital performed a record 363 kidney transplant surgeries in 2017, making it the nation’s top kidney transplant center among nearly 20,000 kidney transplants.

“None of this could have happened without the unwavering support and commitment of our multi-disciplinary transplant teams and leadership from our medical school and hospital,” said Dr. Ronald Busuttil, distinguished professor of surgery in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and chief of liver transplantation, in a statement.

UCLA may be on pace this year to break another organ transplant record.

From January through June, its surgeons have performed 360 solid organ transplants, while remaining the nation’s overall transplant leader. In addition, UCLA performed the most kidney and liver transplants during the same six-month period, at 199 and 92, respectively.

Doctors at UCLA have pioneered a kidney vouchers program, in which living donors commit a kidney to a loved one for a future transplant, with dozens of other transplant centers following the university’s lead.

Kidney specialists have also practiced a rare procedure known as “re-gifting,” when one previously donated kidney is re-donated to a new patient after the initial recipient dies, saving another life.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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