Baptist announces new leaders for its heart transplant program


MEMPHIS, Tenn., – The Baptist Heart Institute at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis recently appointed Dr. Brian Bruckner and Dr. Sharon Larson as leaders of the heart transplant, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist device team.

Baptist is the only provider for adult heart transplants in the Mid-South and serves the region with the only adult ECMO program. Baptist also performs the most ventricular assist device procedures in the area.

“Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis is proud to have Drs. Bruckner and Larson join our team of talented cardiovascular experts,” said Paul Cade, vice president and CEO of Baptist Memphis. “Heart disease is a leading cause of death for Mid-Southerners and patients often require a higher level of care. With Drs. Bruckner and Larson expertise, Baptist Memphis can continue to grow our advanced heart services and offer a high level of cardiovascular care in our community.”

Dr. Bruckner will serve as director of thoracic transplant and mechanical circulatory support for Baptist. He built the largest ventricular assist device and transplant program in the state of Texas during his time at Houston Methodist Hospital. Dr. Brucker earned his doctorate from the University of Florida College of Medicine and his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Florida. Dr. Brucker completed his residency and research fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and his transplant residency at Texas Heart Institute, both in Houston.

As surgical director of cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support and ECMO, Dr. Larson will lead Baptist’s ECMO program as she did at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa, where she was also the clinical assistant professor for the division of cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. Larson obtained her Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in biology and Spanish from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and her Master of Science in biomedical science from the University of North Texas Health Science Center, in Fort Worth.

The Baptist Heart Institute offers comprehensive heart services in one location, delivering advanced diagnostics and treatment to help patients achieve and maintain heart health. The Advanced Heart Failure Program, located within the Baptist Heart Institute, provides comprehensive cardiac care and services for patients diagnosed with advanced heart failure who no longer respond to medicines and require frequent hospitalization. In 2022, Baptist became the first hospital in the state of Tennessee to use barostim implants to treat heart failure, and in 2023, Baptist was the first in the state to implant a cardiac contractility modulation device.

The Baptist Memphis campus includes the 706-bed hospital, which is the flagship of the Baptist Memorial Health Care system. Named as the Best Regional Hospital in Memphis by U.S. News & World Report in 2022, it serves as a major referral center for patients from across the Mid-South and offers the only adult heart transplant program in the region in addition to many diagnostic, surgical and rehabilitation services. The hospital has added hundreds of beds in the past few years, with the opening of a new patient tower and the Baptist Heart Institute. According to HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings organization, Baptist Memphis’ cardiac surgery, stroke, gastrointestinal, pulmonary and critical care programs were among the top 5% in the nation in 2009, resulting in the facility receiving Specialty Excellence awards.