In this section
With a focus on innovation, our pediatric Heart Transplant Program offers specialty services to enhance your child's care and make treatments available to more children.
These specialty services include:
- Pediatric Heart Failure Program
- Mechanical Circulatory Support Program
- Virtual crossmatching for antibody-sensitive patients
We also offer children and their families expertise in the care of complex medical needs, including the following areas of focus.
ABO incompatible heart transplant
The body's immune system produces antibodies against any blood components it does not have in its own blood. Antibodies help the body's immune system attack things that are foreign, like infection, but following transplant these antibodies can help the immune system attack (reject) the new heart. So, patients with type A-type blood would be more likely to reject a heart donated by a type-B person because they would create antibodies against type-B blood.
Research has shown that young children, unlike older children and adults, can accept a heart transplant from a donor whose blood type (A, B or O) would normally be considered incompatible with their own. Offering "ABO incompatible" transplantation creates the potential to shorten the waiting time for vulnerable children waiting for a heart transplant.
At Children's, we have performed at least a dozen ABO incompatible transplants over the past few years with outcomes that are the same as those performed with compatible blood types. Specialized testing allows us to determine which children can accept a heart transplant from an incompatible donor. We continue to monitor these children for rejection, but are pleased to have seen none to date.
Heart transplant/heart failure second opinions
As one of the largest and most experienced pediatric heart centers in the country, we offer second opinions for children with advanced heart failure who may or may not be candidates for heart transplantation. Our Heart Failure Program team can partner with your child's local cardiologist to optimize your child's treatment plan. Likewise, we can work with your family and your child's local specialists to decide when and if alternative or more advanced treatments are best for your child.
We also offer second opinions and consultation for adults with congenital heart disease, about 3 percent of whom will undergo heart transplant as adults. Our cardiothoracic surgeons have extensive experience working with adults living with complex heart disease. Specialists with our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program (one of the largest in the country) partner with our heart failure specialists to offer a thorough, expert assessment of the best medical and surgical options for each patient. We can provide recommendations to local heart care specialist team and provide advanced services such as mechanical circulatory support or heart transplantation.