Lifesaving Care

Zach Engelken

"His heart was failing, and I feared he had just a few hours to live."

Just a year ago, life changed in a heartbeat for Zach Engelken.

"Zach was very close to death when he arrived at the hospital," said Andrew Sauer, MD, cardiologist and medical director of heart transplant and advanced heart failure. 

Read the full story here.

Request an Appointment - 913-588-1227

Heart Transplant

Heart transplant surgery is a complex procedure that is used to treat end-stage heart failure, which occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood throughout the body. A number of conditions can lead to end-stage heart failure including, heart attack, high blood pressure, heart valve disease and other related conditions.

The heart transplant program at The University of Kansas Health System combines experienced cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and other specialists to provide exceptional, streamlined care from the start of your treatment plan through recovery and beyond. Our cardiology and heart surgery programs have been ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2007.

To make an appointment, call 913-588-1227 or toll-free 844-323-1227. You can also request your appointment online. The University of Kansas Health System offers heart transplant services for people in the Kansas City region, as well as from out-of-state.

Destination hospital for heart transplant

  • The Center for Transplantation at The University of Kansas Health System is the largest and most successful transplant program in the region.
  • Our liver, kidney and pancreas transplant programs have already established us as a destination hospital because of our excellent outcomes and short wait times.
  • The heart transplant program builds on our nationally recognized heart program, which has experienced phenomenal growth since it was revitalized in 2001.

Heart transplant expertise

Our experienced, nationally acclaimed physicians and surgeons have developed treatments for all types of heart conditions. They are experienced in:

  • Performing heart transplants
  • Pioneering heart surgery techniques
  • Managing patients with heart failure
  • Caring for patients who have received heart transplants
  • Leading heart transplant programs

Comprehensive Heart Failure Center

Our heart transplant program includes a comprehensive Heart Failure Center offering a full array of treatment options, such as left ventricular assist device (LVAD) surgery – an implantable heart pump powered by external batteries. The center features patient education, management and treatment for heart failure.

What to expect

All heart transplant candidates receive an evaluation to determine whether or not they are eligible for transplant. If you are accepted as a transplant candidate, your name is added to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list. When a donor heart is available, recipients are matched for individual factors such as blood type, body size, placement on recipient list and geographical location.

Surgery will take place at The University of Kansas Hospital. Most heart transplant surgeries take between 5-6 hours, but this time may vary based on individual factors – such as previous heart surgery or implanted assist devices.

After surgery, you will require monitoring in the hospital's cardiac intensive care unit for several days. After being discharged from the hospital, you will receive instructions on how to care for yourself at home, including specific instructions for hygiene maintenance, infection control and identifying possible complications.

You will continue to see your transplant team for regularly scheduled follow-up appointments. All aftercare will be provided at the Center for Transplantation. The 25,000-square-foot facility includes 36 exam rooms, a dedicated lab, an information resource center and comfortable waiting areas for patients and their families.

Your transplant team will work closely with your physician to ensure uninterrupted care. Support groups and other resources are available through our White Heart Learning Resource Center, and Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing.