Pediatric Heart Transplant
For more than 35 years, our Pediatric Heart Transplant Program has offered expert care for children with advanced heart conditions.
Why choose UCLA Health for pediatric heart transplant?
Since our program began in 1984, our pediatric heart specialists have performed more than 300 heart transplants in children. We are a major referral center for children’s heart transplants, meaning we regularly treat children with rare and complex pediatric heart conditions.
Highlights of our Pediatric Heart Transplant Program include:
Excellent outcomes: In recent years, we have had extremely low surgical mortality rates. At other centers, the rate of surgical mortality is around 5% to 15%. Our surgical mortality rate is below 5%.
Collaborative care: Our pediatric heart specialists often work as a team and visit children and their families together. Cardiothoracic surgeons, transplant coordinators, pediatric cardiologists and others are involved in these visits. This unique approach allows for more collaboration, improves communication and saves time.
Pediatric-to-adult transitions: We are one of the only programs in the country that performs both pediatric and adult transplants. When the time comes, we have a dedicated coordinator to help ensure a seamless transition from pediatric to adult care.
Specialized experts: All physicians in the program have expertise in children’s cardiology, including muscular dystrophy with heart failure, congenital heart disease and congenital heart surgery. This in-depth knowledge is paired with a wealth of experience and training, allowing our surgeons to successfully treat children with complex diseases. We also run specialty clinics, such as the Advanced Cardiac Congenital Therapies (ACCT) Clinic.
Clinical research: In addition to providing patient care, our specialists are leaders in pediatric transplant research. We continue to improve our techniques for multi-organ transplants. We also continue to improve care for children who need bridge treatments, or treatments to keep them alive until it’s time for transplant surgery.
Conditions we treat
We offer pediatric heart transplants for children whose heart no longer works as it should on its own. Children may need heart transplants if they have:
Cardiomyopathy: A hereditary disease where the heart muscle weakens and has difficulty pumping blood to the body.
Congenital heart disease: A range of structural heart problems that are present when a child is born.
Pediatric heart failure: A chronic condition where a child’s heart does not pump blood as efficiently as it should.
Treatments we offer
When your child is a heart transplant candidate, you want to get them the best care. At UCLA Health, we use advanced techniques that offer children the best chances for a positive outcome. Treatments we offer include:
Multi-organ transplants: When children need multiple organ transplants, we have the expertise to transplant multiple organs in one procedure. We frequently collaborate with experts in the pediatric kidney transplant and pediatric liver transplant programs so that children need only one operation.
Ventricular assist devices (VAD): We use ventricular assist devices (VAD) to expand heart transplant options. We are the west coast’s leader in using VADs for pediatric patients.
Artificial hearts: We currently implant all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved assist devices, including the SynCardia 70cc full-size total artificial heart. In 2015, we were the first to implant the SynCardia 50cc total artificial heart in an adult. When the 50cc model becomes FDA-approved, we will likely use it for children.