Children's Hospital Colorado
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Pediatric Heart Transplant Program

If a heart transplant is the only option for your child, Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Heart Institute can help make the miracle of transplantation a reality. Here, experts in our Heart Transplant Program will guide your family throughout the process, offering the care and support your child needs before, during and long after a lifesaving heart transplant.

About the Heart Transplant Program

For more than 30 years, our Program has led the nation in caring for children and teens who need heart transplants. From the tiniest infants facing hypoplastic left heart syndrome or cardiomyopathy to young adults in heart failure, we perform lifesaving transplants in kids and teenagers up to age 18.

Children’s Colorado is home to the only pediatric transplant center in the state and one of just a few in the entire Rocky Mountain region. Here, we’ve performed more than 470 lifesaving heart transplants, helping hundreds of children and families find hope for the future. When our patients reach adulthood, we help facilitate a seamless transfer to adult care through our partnership with UCHealth’s cardiac transplantation program at University of Colorado Hospital, located next to our hospital on Anschutz Medical Campus.

Why choose us for your child’s heart transplant

Our Program is one of the largest in the world. Decades of experience and a focus on multidisciplinary care has allowed us to achieve pediatric heart transplant outcomes among the best anywhere.

Learn about our excellent heart transplant outcomes, including survival rates and time on the waiting list – and why these statistics matter.

470+ Lifesaving heart transplants
TOP Survival rates in the country
30+ Years of successful heart transplants

A team of experts dedicated to your child

Kids are not small adults. They’re different in thousands of ways that affect their care. That’s why, in addition to the rigorous training it takes to care for cardiac patients, our heart transplant team has received additional education in pediatric medicine. Our highly specialized team includes:

  • Transplant and congenital heart surgeons with specific training and experience in pediatric cardiac transplantation and congenital heart disease
  • Pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists to closely monitor your child’s comfort before, during and after surgery and procedures
  • Pediatric cardiac intensivists to care for your child in our dedicated Cardiac Intensive Care Unit during recovery
  • Pediatric cardiologists to oversee your child’s heart health while they await a transplant and long after
  • Transplant pharmacists to answer questions and help your family with immunosuppressants and other medications, including dosage, timing and how to take each medication
  • Transplant coordinators to assist your family with the transplant evaluation process, preparing for transplant and arranging follow-up care
  • Dedicated pediatric cardiac nurses who care solely for kids with heart issues

Care for the whole child

Our goal is to give your child as normal and healthy a life as possible and to help them thrive. Whenever possible, we allow kids awaiting transplant to stay at home with their families instead of the hospital.

Rather than focus on their physical needs alone, our multidisciplinary team will tend to your child’s mental, emotional and spiritual needs, as well. Our transplant team also includes:

  • Psychologists who provide long-term support for your child’s mental health, including finding ways to cope with illness and hospital visits
  • Registered dietitians who ensure your child receives the nutrition they need to grow and thrive and to educate your family on any specific dietary needs
  • Physical and occupational therapists who help your child with the strength, skills and abilities they need for daily life
  • Child life specialists who explain diagnoses and tests in an age-appropriate way and help kids cope while they’re in the hospital (often with the help of Galaxy, our medical dog)
  • Chaplains who provide spiritual care and emotional support during a hospital stay
  • Social workers who support your family with financial and other psychosocial resources to help make care easier

Learn more about our specialized pediatric heart transplant team.

Increased chance of receiving a heart transplant

At Children’s Colorado, our transplant candidates spend less time waiting for a heart transplant than at other transplant centers in the region and nationally. This is thanks to a high percentage of registered organ donors in the area and the selfless families who authorize donation when a child passes away.

Our specialized services include ventricular assist devices (VADs). This state-of-the-art technology can be used as a long-term option for children in heart failure, extending the time your child can wait for their lifesaving gift.

Faster recovery and return to everyday life

After a heart transplant, our goal is to help you and your child successfully transition home and return to daily activities as soon as possible. With assistance from physical and occupational therapists, registered dietitians, cardiac pharmacists, psychologists and others, our multidisciplinary team will help your child gain the strength they need to thrive. In fact, many of our patients return home within one week of their heart transplant.

Once they’re home, experts in our Wellness Program will continue to provide emotional support as your child returns to school, sports, extracurricular activities and daily living.

Less invasive tests and procedures

Getting a new heart means that there are lots of tests both before and after the transplant. By monitoring patients through non-invasive tests like echocardiography and doing fewer invasive procedures, we keep the needle pokes and procedures to a minimum.

Pediatric heart transplant innovation and research

We’re dedicated to providing leading edge care for our patients today – and tomorrow. Our Program participates in clinical trials and active research studies to ensure that our care only gets better. This means that our patients have access to the most advanced treatments and medication available.

Who we treat in the Heart Transplant Program

Our experts treat children in need of heart transplant from just a few days old through to adulthood. When patients reach age 18, we work closely with our partners at University of Colorado Hospital to safely transition your child to adult care.

Contact the Heart Transplant Program

For questions or to make an appointment, please contact our heart transplant team at 720-777-3218.

Learn about the health insurance plans we accept and participating national transplant networks.

A one-year-old heart transplant recipient smiles for the camera.

Honoring the gift of life

A very special donor is at the center of every transplant story. We thank the many families who help make our extraordinary care possible.

Learn more about organ and tissue donation


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Children's Colorado in the news

9News

Baby Makes History as the First Patient in the Region to Receive Stem-Cell Therapy for HLHS

September 9, 2018

Thanks to a special partnership between Children’s Colorado and Mayo Clinic, baby Calista became the first patient in Colorado to receive regenerative therapy for a rare congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Children’s Colorado is the only hospital in the region offering access to this groundbreaking clinical trial.

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