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Heart Transplant


Heart transplant surgery is a complex procedure that is used to treat end-stage heart failure, which occurs when the heart muscle becomes too weak to pump blood through 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 care team at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City 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.

What is a heart transplant?

A heart transplant is a surgical procedure that is designed to replace a failing heart with a new, healthy heart. Heart transplants are often performed when other therapies to maintain heart function are unsuccessful.

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.

Who can have a heart transplant?

Heart transplant surgery is typically recommended for people with a serious heart condition that poses an immediate danger to their health. Heart transplant recipients often suffer from one or more of the following conditions:

Initially, your doctor may recommend other methods of treatment to avoid surgery. However, if these therapies are unable to control your heart condition, you may benefit from a heart transplant.

Your cardiologist will determine if heart transplant is right for you. Those who experience any of the following may not be eligible for transplant surgery:

  • Active systemic infection
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Current nicotine or substance abuse
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Fixed pulmonary hypertension
  • Major, long-term psychiatric illness that may interfere with your health
  • Morbid obesity
  • Severe peripheral vascular disease
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

Those who are not currently eligible for transplant can benefit from bridge-to-transplant services, such as a ventricular assist device.

How does heart transplant surgery work?

Heart transplant surgery involves removing a patient's diseased heart and replacing it with a new heart from an organ donor. Heart transplant surgery is a complex, time-sensitive procedure that requires extreme coordination among multiple doctors and medical professionals.

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Could organ transplant be right for you? Request an evaluation today. Our team will be happy to talk with you and support you through your health journey.

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Benefits and risks of heart transplant

Heart transplant surgery can be a lifesaving procedure. However, there are risks to surgery – including infection and organ rejection. To reduce the chances that your body rejects your new heart, your doctor will prescribe certain medications. These medications come with side effects as well, which your doctor will discuss with you.

What happens during a heart transplant?

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 Health System. 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 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.

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 and Resource Center and Turning Point.

Why choose us for a heart transplant?

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

  • Caring for patients who have received heart transplants
  • Leading heart transplant programs
  • Managing patients with advanced heart failure
  • Performing heart transplants
  • Pioneering heart surgery techniques
Best in the region
The Center for Transplantation at The University of Kansas Health System is the largest and most successful transplant program in the region.
More likely to live
Patients on our heart transplant waitlist were more than twice as likely to receive a heart than the national average. And, 3.4% more people on our waitlist lived.
Nationally recognized
The heart transplant program builds on our nationally recognized heart program, which has experienced phenomenal growth since it was revitalized in 2001.