Heart Transplant Surgery

A heart transplant is an operation reserved for patients with end-stage heart failure who aren’t responding to other treatments, such as medications and previous surgeries. While heart transplant surgery is a major operation, chances of a full recovery are optimal with the appropriate follow-up care. 

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. Our Heart Transplant Program consistently exceeds expected Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR+) outcomes for patient and graft survival at one year and three years.

Heart transplants at AHN hospitals: Why choose us?

With compassion and expertise, we’re proud to offer you:

Strong survival rates

Based on The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data, our three-year patient heart transplant survival rates are 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). These devices can support your heart’s circulation while 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 works one-on-one with you. This specialist guides you through the transplant process and is readily available 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.

How does a heart transplant procedure work?

Heart transplant surgery is an open-heart procedure done under general anesthesia that takes several hours, depending on your condition. A heart transplant surgeon will connect you to a heart-lung bypass machine and make an incision in your chest to perform the procedure. The surgeon will then remove your heart and replace it with a healthy one from a donor.

After the surgery, you will be kept on a ventilator to help you breathe for some time, depending on your condition. Most patients will remain in the hospital for two weeks or more after a heart transplant. Following the surgery, you’ll either be discharged to go home or be placed in a physical rehabilitation unit until you are strong enough to go home.

What is a heart transplant success rate

Life expectancy after a heart transplant will depend on a patient’s condition and age. Nationally, the average survival rate for heart transplant patients one year after