Heart Transplant

For patients with heart failure, conventional treatments, such as medications or surgery, may not always be enough. Through our Heart Transplant Program, Saint Joseph's can offer new hope to patients with end-stage heart disease. Since 1987, our Transplant Program has helped hundreds of patients find a new lease on life. With a heart transplant, many patients have found their lives returning to what they were before their heart began failing. Within a few weeks to a month, many are back to enjoying normal activities -- returning to work, exercising, and traveling for the first time in years.

Saint Joseph's Heart Transplant Program is one of only three adult heart transplant programs in the Southeast. We have performed more than 400 heart transplants, and our outcomes consistently exceed the national average. A leader and innovator of heart transplants, we also offer the most advanced technology for mechanical support of the failing heart, including left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), also known as artificial hearts.

The Saint Joseph's Heart Transplant Program team is committed to saving lives. Our team expertly balances practicing the best medicine with delivering the best patient care. We believe this is especially important for heart transplant patients who face both physical and emotional challenges. Our innovative approach to prevention and treatment, our outstanding outcomes, and our patient-centered, compassionate care philosophy have earned us a national reputation as a center for cardiovascular excellence. As a mission-based hospital, Saint Joseph's is committed to providing life-saving transplantation for those who need it. In fact, we remain the only program in Georgia offering transplants to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

A Lifetime of Care: The Heart Transplantation Process

A heart transplant is a complex treatment that neither begins nor ends in the operating room. The process begins with a meeting with a transplant cardiologist and surgeon who will evaluate you and perform any necessary testing and, once complete, will add you to the transplant list. The length of time between your initial meetings with us and when you are placed on the transplant list depends on your condition. While you wait for a donor heart to become available, you will meet with other members of our team who will educate you on your condition, the transplant process, and any other issues that you may face.

Our team will work with you after your transplant to develop and oversee a personalized rehabilitation program aimed at getting you back to your normal activities as soon as possible. Because the immune system reacts to transplanted organs as a foreign body, transplant patients must take immunosuppressive medications that prevent organ rejection. Part of your ongoing care will include learning about the importance of taking these medications as well as returning for follow-up monitoring to ensure that they are performing as they should.

A heart transplant is a life-changing event, and we try to support your emotional needs as well as your medical ones. All of our transplant patients receive a visit from someone who has gone through the process. These former patients, either persons with an implantable ventricular device or patients that have undergone a heart transplant share the same experiences and can help you better understand the process and cope with any emotional issues that may arise.

Support with LVAD

In addition to heart transplantation, we offer LVAD technology for the surgical treatment of end-stage heart failure. An LVAD is a surgically implanted, battery-powered pump that helps the left ventricle pump adequate amounts of blood to the body. The LVAD is implanted in your upper abdomen and connected to an external power supply. Blood is sent through a tube in your left ventricle into the LVAD, which pumps the blood through another tube into your aorta and throughout your body. This device helps your heart pump effectively and can be used while you wait for a donor heart (bridge to transplant), or as a final therapy in patients who are not transplant candidates (destination therapy).

At Saint Joseph's, we use the latest VAD technology. These newer VADs feature fewer moving parts, and they experience less wear and tear and are more durable than older devices. In addition, newer VADs create continuous blood flow, lowering the chances that complications will develop. These newer devices are nearly totally implantable, and most patients are discharged home and return to normal, active lifestyles with improved quality of life.

Our VAD coordinator will fully educate you and your family about your LVAD, including how it operates, how to change the batteries, as well as what to do should an alarm ring. In addition, we make your power company aware that you have an LVAD and ensure that you receive priority service should your home lose power. Similarly, we work with your local emergency services to prepare them should they be called to assist you.

A High-Quality Transplant Team

At Saint Joseph's Hospital, we have an exceptional team of transplant physicians who are leaders in the field of transplant cardiology. Our team has extensive experience in treating patients with congestive heart failure and is expert in immunosuppression and long-term care of transplant patients. Our transplant team consists of cardiologists, surgeons, transplant coordinators, a program-dedicated social worker, psychologist, pharmacists, a clinical nutritionist, ethicist, staff nurses, physician assistants, and program administrators, all of whom work with you and your family to develop an individualized care plan and to ensure the success of your transplant.

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We're Here to Help
No matter what question about heart transplantation or specific assistance you need related to your or a loved one's medical condition, we're here to help. Please give us a call at (678) 843-5757 today.

Heart Transplant Center
5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, NE, Suite 110
Atlanta, GA 30342
(678) 843-5757