The Transplant Journey

For hearts that are weakening, that cannot be repaired surgically or managed long-term with medications, a transplant is often the best choice. The compassion of our pediatric cardiology specialists who work with your child facing a heart transplant is matched only by our skill in performing heart transplants.

Mount Sinai has a 100 percent one-year patient survival rate for pediatric heart transplants, better than the national rate and the best in New York State. (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, January 9, 2024)

About Heart Transplantation

If a young heart becomes too weak or sick, the best treatment may be a heart transplant, such as in severe cases of:

Our team of doctors and nurses prepare your child to receive a new heart. Getting the right donor heart for your child takes time, patience, and care. We continue to treat your child while waiting for a donor heart, and our social worker and child-life team help your family and your child make a healthy adjustment to a heart transplant. 

Before transplant surgery
The process of finding a donor heart starts when we add your child’s name to the Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) donor list. Based on a number of traits, the donor heart must be a match for your child. Once UNOS finds a matching heart, we will schedule your child’s transplant right away. You will need to be ready, and we will help you prepare.

While waiting for a heart donor, your child may be able to be at home. However, many children need to stay in the hospital. We will do what’s best for your child. Our team has expertise in caring for the sickest patient while waiting for a new heart.

We may be able to support your child’s failing heart with medications. However, in some cases, your child may need mechanical circulatory support, such as one of the following:

  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)—an advanced life support technique that provides breathing and circulatory support
  • Ventricular assist device (VAD)—a device that supports the heart and improves blood flow to the body. 

During transplant surgery
As any heart surgery, a heart transplant is a delicate procedure. Your child will be in surgery for several hours. During the operation, we will let you know how the procedure is going and how your child is doing.

After transplant surgery
After surgery, our specially trained nurses and doctors will be monitoring your child closely in our pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. The transplant team will teach you how to care for your child at home.

Your doctors will want to see your child frequently for follow-up care. We will also continue to answer your questions and support you as you learn to take care of your child.  

We may prescribe certain types of medication to suppress the immune system and that prevent your child’s body from rejecting the new heart. Your child will need lifelong follow-up to manage these medications and to monitor their health, and the health of their new heart.

At Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Heart Center, your family becomes a part of ours. Our heart transplant program offers personalized care before, during, and after your child’s heart transplant. We are here for your child throughout childhood and adolescence.