The Loma Linda University Medical Center Transplantation Institute offers a Heart Transplantation Program for patients with end-stage heart disease – the final stage of disease– in infants, pediatrics and adults. Our heart transplant history traces back to 1984 when newborn Baby Fae received the heart of a juvenile baboon and lived for 20 days. Having laid the groundwork for future transplantation in infants worldwide, LLUMC has grown to become a national and internationally-recognized leader in infant heart transplantation.
When medical and surgical therapies prove insufficient, heart transplantation can prolong a patient’s life. It entails the extraction of a patient’s damaged or diseased heart, replacing it with a healthy donor heart.
The longest living transplant recipient has survived well over 20 years. Success stories like these have encouraged heart transplantation as a realistic treatment. But transplantation is by no means a cure. Instead, it’s an exchange of certain death for a lifetime commitment to taking daily medicines to prevent the immune system from rejecting the new organ.
The Heart Transplant Team at LLUMC is comprised of surgeons, physicians, social workers, nurse coordinators, pharmacists, immunologists and dietitians. Our multidisciplinary team approach is equipped to treat some of the most complicated cases. As a comprehensive tertiary-care facility experienced in multiple organ transplantation, LLUMC has collaborative, integrated transplantation teams who work together to ensure that high-risk adult, pediatric and infant patients are treated with world-class medical care.
Transplantation involves an individualized immunotherapy regimen based upon the team experiences as well as the patient profile and their response. Three to four months following surgery are critical to stabilizing medication levels and monitoring any signs of rejection and infection unique to the transplant patient. It’s recommended that the recipient remain in the local area during this immediate period after receiving a new heart. From pre-evaluation to long-term follow-up, LLUMC fosters high quality continuity of care by providing expertise and staying connected with our patients for life.
Our Heart Transplant Team
The LLUMC Heart Transplant Program brings together the expertise of heart specialists who have extensive experience in cardiology and transplant surgery. Committed to upholding a tradition of excellence, our Loma Linda School of Medicine physicians and surgeons support ongoing research and education for future heart transplantation advancement and clinical result improvement for patients.
LLUMC’s Heart Transplantation Program is accredited by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a national transplantation program. It also obtained Medi-Cal approval in July 1993 and Medicare approval in March 1995 as well as CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) recertification in 2009.