Doctor with patient

​Heart Transplant

If you have advanced heart failure that is no longer responding to treatment, your cardiologist may talk to you about heart transplant surgery. Finding the right heart transplant program is an important decision for you and your family.

You want an experienced transplant team close to home. Because when the call comes, minutes matter. And the journey to recovery is always better when your loved ones are nearby.

Heart transplantation is a highly specialized, open-heart procedure that is only available at hospitals meeting the highest national standards for transplant services. The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Center is built on a solid foundation of cardiovascular excellence and pioneering clinical research.

For more than two decades, we've introduced innovative heart failure treatments to the Tristate long before they're available anywhere else. It's how we became known as Greater Cincinnati's Heart Hospital SM.

Our heart transplant team has more than 50 years of combined experience in heart transplant care and surgery. They are nationally respected leaders known for their exceptional outcomes, leading-edge research, and compassionate care.

Together with a team of cardiovascular experts, The Christ Hospital Heart & Vascular Center offers the most comprehensive care options and clinical expertise in Greater Cincinnati for patients in need of a heart transplant, including:

  • Advanced heart failure care

  • Left Ventricular Assist Devices and mechanical cardiac support

  • Valve surgery and catheter (non-surgical) techniques

  • Cardiac intensive care

  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) therapy

  • Advanced cardiovascular imaging

  • Cardiac rehabilitation and nutrition support.

To schedule a consultation with The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Center, call 513-585-2493 or click here to request a second opinion with our heart transplant experts.

What is the outlook for patients who undergo heart transplant?

Successful heart transplants have set records year after year over the past decade. According to the United Network of Organ Sharing, more than 31,000 lifesaving heart transplants have been performed in the U.S. since 2011.

Long term survival rates for selected patients with end-stage heart failure who receive a heart transplant are generally very good, especially compared to medical therapy. Many patients are eventually able to return to normal activities and a better quality of life.

Still, a heart transplant is a major operation with both physical and emotional impacts. Patients will have frequent check-ups in the months following transplant and must take medication to prevent rejection for the rest of their lives.

The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant team has everything it takes to guide you through your recovery, from cardiac rehabilitation and nutritionists to social work and mental health support.

How do I become a candidate for a heart transplant?

Being added to the national heart transplant waiting list is an extensive process. It starts with a referral to the transplant team by your cardiologist or primary care provider. You can also self-refer in through our second opinion program to request a consultation.

You will meet with our team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and nutritionists to evaluate your overall health and to rule out any complications that might make surgery risky or cause you to possibly reject a donor heart.

Heart transplant is a considered a treatment of last resort when medications and surgical treatments are no longer working. Patients who qualify for the heart transplant waiting list generally have a history of:

  • Heart failure

  • Cardiomyopathy

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Pulmonary hypertension

  • Heart rhythm disorders

  • Congenital heart disease or birth differences affecting the heart

  • Heart valve disease.

How quickly do donor hearts become available?

Every year, there are more people in need of a heart transplant than available donated hearts. Some patients may only wait months before they're notified a donor heart is available, while others may wait a year or longer.

Matching donor hearts to recipients is managed by the United Network of Organ Sharing, or UNOS. The nonprofit organization uses a complex system to check compatibility of the donor heart to those on the waiting list, the distance to the transplant hospital, and medical urgency.

Once a donor heart becomes available that is a good match, you will be contacted by your transplant coordinator with instructions on coming to the hospital.

You can expect to spend about two weeks in the hospital after your heart transplant and several months of intensive follow-up care.

What happens while I'm on the heart transplant waiting list?

We understand that waiting for a transplant can be a very stressful time for you and your family. Our team will continue monitoring your health and make any needed adjustments to your medical treatments.

If appropriate, you may also receive a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) or another form of temporary heart support device as a bridge to transplant.

How do people pay for a heart transplant?

Heart transplants may be covered by your private health insurance and some Medicare and Medicaid insurance plans. Patients are ultimately responsible for any costs not covered by insurance.

Our Heart Transplant team includes social workers and financial counselors who will meet with you and your family to talk through your options.

Why choose The Christ Hospital?

  • The Christ Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 Hospital in Greater Cincinnati with high performing programs in Cardiology & Heart Surgery.

  • The Christ Hospital has been named one of America's 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery by HealthGrades.

  • Newsweek ranks The Christ Hospital among the World's Best Hospitals for Cardiology.

  • Through The Christ Hospital Lindner Research Center, our doctors have pioneered many new techniques in cardiovascular medicine over the past 20 years, bringing patients access to leading-edge therapies long before they're available anywhere else.
     

  • Our heart and vascular support groups provide an additional layer of emotional support and education as patients recover and build healthier lives.

To schedule a consultation with The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Center, call 513-585-2493 or click here to request a second opinion with our heart transplant experts.