Heart failure is a progressive disease that can significantly impact your quality of life over time. If treatments such as medications or heart support devices don’t help, your doctor may recommend a heart transplant.
We understand that the idea of undergoing a heart transplant is daunting. Our heart transplant team at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cardiovascular Institute guides you through every step of the process.
Heart transplants at AHN: Why choose us?
Our team’s compassion and expertise has helped make AHN Cardiovascular Institute one of the nation’s top heart transplant programs. We’re proud to offer you:
- Strong survival rates: The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) considers our 3-year patient survival rates to be the best in Western Pennsylvania. Our transplant team works with you to ensure that you have the resources you need throughout the transplant process.
- Support for weakening hearts: Our transplant specialists are innovative users of mechanical circulatory support, including ventricular assist devices (VADs) and artificial hearts. These devices give your heart a rest as you wait for a donor heart.
- Customized medication plans: We base your immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) therapy on personal factors, including age, gender, race, and health status. By tailoring treatment to your unique needs, you have less chance of infection and organ rejection.
- Dedicated care: A personal transplant coordinator, or concierge, works one-on-one with you. This specialist guides you through the transplant process and is available 24/7 to answer your transplant questions.
- Research advancements: As an AHN patient, you may benefit from clinical trials of new anti-rejection medications and other therapies. The AHN Cardiovascular Research Institute spearheads these groundbreaking initiatives.
- Multiple-organ transplants: Our transplant surgeons are exceptionally skilled at performing multiple-organ transplants, such as a simultaneous heart and kidney transplant.
- Complete heart failure care: You benefit from a comprehensive suite of heart failure treatments, including cardiovascular rehabilitation, to strengthen your heart. Learn more about heart failure and its treatments.
- Team approach: Our multidisciplinary team approach includes physicians, surgeons, transplant nurse coordinators, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists, and other specialists. They work together to provide you with the best possible outcome. Meet our providers.
Pre-transplant heart support at AHN
It can take six months or longer to receive a heart transplant. During this time, you may need mechanical circulatory support in the form of a VAD or balloon pump to support your weakened heart.
Depending on your health condition and personal preferences, your options include:
- Bridge to transplant: VADs, artificial hearts, and other mechanical circulatory support systems help your weakened heart pump blood. These devices provide support until a donor heart is available.
- Bridge to bridge: Our doctors are among a select few in the country with the expertise to offer this support option. You receive a series of different mechanical circulatory support devices until your heart is strong enough to implant a more durable device, such as a VAD. If you’ve been told a transplant isn’t a viable option, this process may help you become eligible.
- Destination therapy: This long-term treatment is a good option if you don’t want a heart transplant or you have health complications that make a transplant too risky. Your doctor surgically implants a VAD to help your heart pump blood. Many patients with VADs live five years or longer.
Leaders in cardiac care
AHN is the highest-rated health system in western Pennsylvania for patient safety in overall medical care, overall surgical care, heart attack treatment, heart failure treatment, and pulmonary care, according to the 2018 CareChex® quality rating system.* Learn more about the Cardiovascular Institute.
*Number one in market claims are based on CareChex® 2018 Composite Quality Scores and Ratings™ for acute care hospitals serving the combined statistical area (CSA) of Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton. Source: 2018 CareChex, an information service of Quantros, Inc. January 2014 – June 2016