In a heart transplant, a patient’s diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a donor.

If your child’s heart is failing, doctors will first see if it can be improved enough by medicine, cardiac catheterization procedures or surgery. A heart transplant may be needed if these things do not fix the heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

A heart transplant may be needed by infants, children and teens with:

  • A heart problem that is present at birth (complex congenital heart disease)
  • Cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle that prevents it from squeezing properly

Our Heart Center team has the medical expertise and technology to handle even the most complex cases. The transplant process requires extensive preparation and lifelong follow-up care. If your child needs a heart transplant, Seattle Children’s is the best place to be.

What’s special about the experience at Seattle Children’s?

Seattle Children’s Heart Transplant Program provides compassionate, state-of-the-art care to infants, children and teens. Our program was established in 1994. We now perform approximately 15 heart transplants a year.

  • Our outcomes (survival rates) are consistently among the best in the nation. See our statistics. We publish the results of our program 2 times a year with the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.
  • Seattle Children’s is the only pediatric heart center in the Pacific Northwest with the depth of expertise to offer every type of therapy for heart failure. This includes using ventricular assist devices (VADs) that provide a safer transition to transplantation. A VAD can help a child or teen stay healthy enough to have a transplant once a donor heart becomes available.
  • We offer ABO blood group-mismatched transplants so babies do not have to wait as long for a transplant.
  • Our Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) Program provides life support when a child’s heart or lungs are not working properly or need a rest.
  • In addition to expert surgical techniques, our medical care includes state-of-the-art immunogenetics, blood banking and immunological treatment so children who otherwise would not qualify for a heart transplant can be successfully transplanted.
  • In our pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), we offer the most specialized care and advanced technology available.
  • We performed a heart transplant on a baby less than 2 weeks old, the youngest infant to have a heart transplant in the Pacific Northwest.

Our comprehensive approach to patient care and our affiliation with the University of Washington help ensure that our patients receive the best possible treatment for heart failure.

Who’s on the team?

Our heart transplant team is led by Dr. Michael McMullan and Dr. Yuk Law.

Our highly skilled pediatric heart surgeons, specialized cardiologists, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiac intensivists, transplant nurses and cardiopulmonary perfusionists are very experienced in the surgical care and medical management of pediatric heart transplant patients.

They are further supported by nutritionists, pharmacists, immunogeneticists, infectious disease experts, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, blood bank doctors and physical, occupational and speech therapists. All of these team members have expertise in pediatric heart transplantation.

Learn More

Read more about Seattle Children’s Transplant Center and the Heart Transplant Program.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.