Medical milestone: Aurora St. Luke's celebrates 50th anniversary of heart transplants

MILWAUKEE -- Wednesday, Oct. 24 was a big day for Aurora Health Care. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of heart transplants at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee.

The first transplant in the Midwest was performed at St. Luke's in 1968. We are told the first patient lived nine years after the surgery which was virtually unheard of at the time.

In the 50 years since the technology was introduced, Aurora St. Luke's has performed 920 transplants.

"It may not be appropriate that a transplant is the best option. It may night be appropriate to have a mechanical pump, but at least they're being evaluated. It gives the patient and their families peace of mind that everything was done," said Dr. Frank Downey, Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program.

The hospital and staff were also recognized by Gov. Scott Walker's office for all the work they have done to save hundreds of lives over the years.