Our goal is for patients to be back in school, back on the soccer fields, back living their normal life after their transplant. Anything short of that is a disappointment for all of us.
--Elizabeth Blume, MD, medical director, Heart Failure/Transplant Program
If your child’s end-stage heart dysfunction is no longer responding to medical treatment, a heart transplant may be an option to give him a longer and healthier life. Heart transplant is an operation that replaces a dysfunctional heart with a healthy heart from another person who has had brain death but whose heart is working normally.
Some of the most common conditions that necessitate a heart transplant in children are complex congenital heart defects and cardiomyopathy after they have progressed to a stage when the heart is no longer able to pump blood effectively.
- According to 2010 statistics from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), about 300 children receive heart transplants each year.
The Boston Children’s Hospital approach
Since its inception in 1986, our Heart Transplant Program has become one of the largest and most experienced pediatric heart transplant programs in the country. Our program exists within the larger Cardiovascular Program, which has pioneered treatments that have dramatically improved the survival rate for fetuses, infants, children, teenagers and adults with heart defects. This means the shortest possible distance from discovery to your child’s bedside.
The pediatric heart transplant team includes:
- cardiac surgeons
- advanced practice nurses
- transplant pharmacists
- physical therapists
- transplant coordinators
Experts from additional sub-specialties throughout Children's join your child’s care team as needed. Child Life specialists, psychologists, social workers and resource specialists who are here to support your whole family before, during and after your child’s transplant.
We are committed to working with you every step of the way.
|More hearts for more kids|
If your child has had previous heart surgery and/or blood transfusions, he may have developed antibodies that make him not a good candidate for certain donor hearts that become available.
Children’s is one of a small number of centers that offers a procedure that can lower and neutralize the effect of these antibodies. This can increase the number of donor hearts that may be a good match for him, which in turn may shorten the amount of time that he needs to wait for a new heart.
Here at Children’s, we offer an immunosuppression protocol that avoids the use of steroids—meaning fewer undesirable side effects for your child.
|Transitioning from pediatric to adult care|
|More than 9 million children in the United States are living with a chronic illness. Every year, 500,000 of these children turn 18. As they join their fellow adolescents in struggling to achieve optimal independence, they also face a serious issue they may not be prepared for: the transition of their medical care. Read Children’s tips for helping kids – and their families – make this key transition.|
Heart transplant: Reviewed by T P Singh, MD, MSc
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010