Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Heart Institute

Heart Transplant

Recognized as a Top 50 Children’s Cardiology & Heart Surgery Program by U.S. News & World Report 2018-2019

Our Program

When a heart transplant offers the best hope a child with a life-threatening heart problem, our team has the experience to help. Our pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top 50 program.

Within our pediatric heart surgery program we have performed more than 185 neonatal and pediatric heart transplants for patients with congenital heart defects or acquired heart disease. Our survival outcomes for heart transplants are published online at the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).

Our team can provide a range of cardiovascular support services, including full mechanical support of the heart with extracorporeal mechanical oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices. We're designated as an ECMO center of excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, and we were the first pediatric center in Florida to use a ventricular assist device (VAD).

Why a Transplant?

Our team of pediatric heart surgeons and cardiologists specializes in treating complex cardiac problems. They work to avoid heart transplant whenever possible. Some children are born with  congenital heart defects that can't be corrected by surgery, while other patients may develop life-threatening cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. A heart transplant replaces the patient's diseased heart with a healthy donor heart.

Before Transplant

Our team will evaluate your child to explore all medical and surgical treatment options, including heart transplantation. We will perform diagnostic procedures that may include cardiac catheterization and cardiac MRI. We will also evaluate your child's overall health and immune system.

If the evaluation shows that transplantation is the best option, we will place your child's name on a waiting list with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which matches donor organs with children and adults in the United States who need a transplant.

Some children are able to be at home while waiting for a transplant. Others stay in our CVICU and are cared for by the experts on our heart transplant and heart failure team until a donor heart becomes available.

After Transplant

Most of our patients are able to leave the hospital within four weeks after transplant. We work closely with families to prepare for life at home after transplant. The transplant coordinator will arrange follow-up clinic visits, lab work and biopsies and help with other needs. We can even help coordinate temporary homeschooling for your child after you return home.

We will help coordinate all of the medications your child will need to take once you are discharged from the hospital. We also help our patients' primary care physicians understand the special health care needs of post-transplant patients to ensure continuity of care.

Our team helps the family and the patient become comfortable and confident with the medications and self-care that are needed after a heart transplant. Outpatient visits at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital take place frequently at first and gradually transition to just a few visits per year. The goal is for our transplant patients to become healthy and independent adults.

We offer ongoing patient and family education and support in the post-transplant years, including a patient/family support group. We help our post-transplant patients lead active and fulfilling lives as they prepare for their journey to adulthood. Because we know their unique medical and cardiac history, we continue to provide post-transplant cardiology and adult congenital heart disease services into adulthood.

Our Outcomes

As a pediatric heart transplant center, we perform heart transplants on patients with challenging heart problems. Our outcomes are available to help parents make choices about their child's cardiac care.

Our team of pediatric cardiovascular surgeons also participate in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database (STS-CHSD).

Research & Education

Research and education on heart disease and heart transplant outcomes are an important focus at the Johns Hopkins All Children's Heart Institute. We take part in the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society Research Consortium and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database. We publish our research findings, and we organize international seminars that bring together leaders in pediatric cardiology, heart surgery and transplantation to share innovative approaches to care.

Meet Our Team

Our multidisciplinary team works together to meet your child's medical and developmental needs and provides you and your family with education and support.

Your Stay

 It’s a little easier when you know what to expect and where you will be staying. Our individual patient rooms can comfortably accommodate a child and both parents.

Read inspiring stories about our Heart Transplant patients:

Home Is Where the Heart Is

A mother, a hospital and a medical foster family help a child recover from a heart transplant and start life with loving support.

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One Heart Inspiring Another

For the past 14 years, Tina has been a patient care technician in the PICU at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. A medical career, however, wasn’t something she’d planned on. In fact, it all started with the birth of her son, Nathan, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a critical birth defect affecting the formation of the heart. Originally from Germany, the family moved to Florida so Johns Hopkins All Children’s could care for Nathan’s heart.

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A Historic Heart Patient Maintains Devotion to Johns Hopkins All Children’s

At just six weeks old, Hunter Ratcliffe made history. Just hours after birth, Hunter’s family learned he was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which meant the left side of Hunter’s heart was missing and couldn’t pump oxygen-rich blood to the body properly. On June 19, 1995, he received the first heart transplant at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital...

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If the Third Time is the Charm, Maddie’s New Heart Transplant is Beating All Odds

While many teenage girls will happily tick off their favorite Instagram posts or all of the clubs they are in at school, Maddie is more likely to list out the number of beating hearts that have echoed inside her chest (three) or the hundreds of echocardiograms, multiple heart attacks and the many nights she has spent in the emergency room...

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