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Heart Transplant

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We have the medical expertise and technology to handle even the most complex cases.

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

If your child's heart is failing and cannot be fixed by medicine, catheterization procedures or surgery, then a heart transplant may be needed. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

A heart transplant is a treatment reserved for patients with complex congenital heart disease or cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a disorder of the heart muscle that prevents it from squeezing properly.

If your child needs a heart transplant, Children's is the best place to be.

What needs to happen before a transplant can be done?

There are several steps to go through before a transplant operation. Many tests are performed to see if your child is eligible for a heart transplant.

If your child is eligible, their name will be placed on a waiting list with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the group responsible for distributing organs in the United States.

The waiting time can vary from days to months, depending on your child's blood type, their degree of sickness and the availability of a donor match. Once your child is on the waiting list, your family will receive a pager so you can be notified immediately when a heart becomes available.

The wait for word on a donor heart can be a very stressful time. Our social worker can put you in touch with other families who have gone through the process of a heart transplant.

The Child Life Department at Seattle Children's teaches coping strategies and uses medical play to help children understand what is happening to them.

What's special about the experience at Children's?

We have the medical expertise and technology to handle even the most complex cases. Children's heart transplant program was established in 1994 and we now perform two to five heart transplants a year.

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. This team of highly skilled pediatric cardiac surgeons, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, fellows, cardiac nurses, cardiac nurse practitioners and cardiopulmonary perfusionists is very experienced in the surgical care and management of pediatric heart transplant patients.

Learn More

For more information about Children's heart transplant program, please visit the heart pages of our Transplant section.

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