Medical Milestones

A History of Firsts

Our close partnership with the University of Minnesota puts us at the forefront of world-class research and innovative patient treatments. The first open heart surgery, first human bone marrow transplant and the development of the first successful heart-lung machine all happened within our walls.

Transplant services celebrates the 50th anniversary of its solid organ transplant program (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

The pediatric kidney transplant program at University of Minnesota Children's Hospital celebrated its 1,000th transplant. Our pediatric surgeons began performing kidney transplants in 1963, and the program is now the largest in the world.

Physicians at University of Minnesota Medical Center performed their 700th heart transplant.

The first Berlin left ventricular assist device implanted in a child in Minnesota was implanted at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, serving as a bridge to transplant.

World's first bone marrow and cord blood transplant to treat recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) — a devastating skin disease — was performed at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

The 5,000th blood and marrow transplant is performed at University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota Medical Center has one of the lowest mortality rates among U.S. academic medical centers. It ranks in the lowest fifth percentile of 280 participating academic medical centers, reports the University Health System Consortium.

University of Minnesota Medical Center is one of only two neuroscience centers in Minnesota named a Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital surgeons performed Minnesota’s first pediatric robotically-assisted procedure using the da Vinci® Surgical System.

Transplant services celebrated its 6,000th kidney transplant. As the heart transplant program also celebrated its 40th year, patient Evelyn Ryan underwent the program’s 500th heart transplant (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

The only metro-area hospital south of the Minnesota River to acquire a 16-slice CT scanner (Fairview Ridges Hospital). This technology allows CT images to be obtained at a faster rate and with more detail than prior technology. It offers the ability to reformat data that is obtained in a single pass through the body, reducing radiation exposure and improving the accuracy of diagnosis.

Performed world's first mesenchymal stem cell/cord blood transplant in pediatric patient with acute myeloid leukemia at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

Gene that causes the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults discovered (University of Minnesota), making it easier for physicians to test for and diagnose the disease.

Nation’s first stem cell institute established (University of Minnesota). Researchers have found ways to use stem cells to replicate other organs in the body and could someday cure such illnesses as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Stem cells are also used at University of Minnesota Medical Center as a source for blood and marrow transplants.

Midwest’s first successful living donor double-lung transplant performed (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

World’s first blood and marrow transplant performed using genetic testing on an embryo to find a suitable cord blood donor (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First hospital in Minnesota to participate in the Safe Place for Newborns program — now a state law (Fairview Ridges Hospital).

Vaccine for Lyme disease developed and patented (University of Minnesota).

First hospital in the world to successfully transplant all intra-abdominal organs — heart, liver, lung, kidney, pancreas and intestine (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

Discovery that autologous bone marrow transplant can improve survival rates for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First neonatal intensive care unit partnership with Fairview and the University of Minnesota created in Minnesota (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

Michael Paparella, M.D. performed Minnesota’s first cochlear implant surgery for a child (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

Opening of the Birthplace — the first labor, delivery recovery, postpartum, single-room maternity care offered in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First use of cyclosporine, a drug that prevents rejection of transplanted organs (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First use of a new technique for adult kidney transplant in infants (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First total-body CT scanner developed (University of Minnesota Medical Center), bringing with it the capability to create images of nearly the entire body — from the chin to below the hips. This proved to be best for high-risk patients.

One of the first surgeries for the most difficult cases of epilepsy performed (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

World-renowned multiple sclerosis treatment program launched (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First implantable diabetes drug pump developed, freeing patients from daily injections (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

New technique developed for the long-term preservation of the human cornea before transplant (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First successful human bone marrow transplant in the world performed (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

World’s first pancreas transplant performed (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

Fairview Southdale Hospital opens, the first full-service satellite hospital in the nation, on October 1.

First 11-county, metro-area community heart surgery program developed (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

World’s first artificial heart valve implant performed (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

First successful heart-lung machine developed to keep patients alive during heart surgery (University of Minnesota Medical Center).

F. John Lewis, M.D. performed the world’s first successful open-heart surgery along with a team of University of Minnesota Physicians, including Richard Varco, M.D. (University of Minnesota Medical Center).