patient and nurse making a heart shape with hands

Heart Transplant

If you or a loved one need a heart transplant, the cardiac specialists at Providence are here to guide you through every step on your journey.  

A heart transplant is a complex surgical procedure that replaces your heart with a donor’s heart. Donor hearts are matched to you by both blood type and body size. During your surgery, heart transplant surgeons remove your heart and connect the donor’s heart by attaching both your and the donor’s vena cavae (veins), aorta (main artery), pulmonary artery and left atrium (chamber of the heart). 

If you’re a candidate for a heart transplant, you’ll receive extensive physical exams and evaluations before starting the transplant process. Our program provides comprehensive care through every phase of your procedure, including: 

  • Collaboration with your health care network
  • First-line emergency care and a long-range plan of care
  • Mechanical assist options to help you until a heart is available
  • Outpatient monitoring and clinical support
  • Transplant and post-transplant follow-up 

During your surgery, the transplant surgeon will make an incision in your chest while a heart-lung bypass machine takes over the functions of your heart and lungs. Our team will remove your heart and replace it with the healthy donor heart. The procedure generally takes about five to six hours. 

Our team of heart transplant surgeons, heart failure cardiologists, surgical assistants, transplant coordinators, mechanical heart engineers and research nurses provide clinical expertise. Our pulmonologists, psychologists, social workers, dietitians, financial counselors and data coordinators can help with everything else you need. 

While complications after any surgery are uncommon, there are specific complications to watch for after a heart transplant. Your medical team will work with you on a recovery plan that includes specific symptoms to watch for based on your specific condition. Possible complications could include coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, infection or organ rejection. 

After the transplant, your care team will talk with you about the role you play in monitoring your health. You will need to follow a healthy lifestyle and take immunosuppressive medication to prevent your immune system from rejecting your new heart.