Frequently Asked Questions

Our parents and families ask us the following common questions. We hope you find them helpful. We also encourage you to watch our Heart to Heart Talks video with our PACT program director.

Why should I choose your program over other heart centers?

We are a part of the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center, a nationally leading and well-respected heart center with tremendous surgical and medical expertise that enables us to care for children who have serious forms of heart failure and very complex needs that some other centers might be reluctant to treat. We also take pride in our innovative, research-driven options. Despite treating the toughest pediatric heart cases, we have excellent outcomes.

How do you treat my child’s heart failure?

Treating heart failure requires paying careful attention to small changes in your child's condition and adjusting treatment in response to these changes, early and often. We provide the most advanced heart failure therapy available, backed by ongoing research that defines how best to treat this condition. Heart medications are often the first treatment, and early use of medications can dramatically improve the heart’s function and delay or replace transplant. If symptoms progress, we use supportive devices, such as pacemakers and ventricular assist devices (VADs), to help your child’s heart function better. We also carefully determine if transplant is the right next step.

How do you decide whether or not my child needs a heart transplant?

We work closely with your referring doctor to determine if heart transplantation is needed. Your child will receive a complete evaluation from our large, multidisciplinary team of doctors. He or she will receive needed tests to determine the level of heart failure and the severity of symptoms. Our evaluation may result in placing your child on the waitlist or continuing conventional treatments, depending upon what is best for your child.

What happens once you decide my child needs a heart transplant?

If we deem that transplant is necessary, as a United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)–approved center, we place your child on the UNOS list. UNOS coordinates the matching and placement of donor organs. We have innovative ways to shorten wait times, including performing CT scans of your child’s heart and potential donor hearts to see if they are a good match.

How do you support my family before, during, and after transplant?

We are here to help your child and your family every step of the way through the transplant process. We understand that a heart transplant can upend your family’s life, requiring adjustments with work and school for medical visits and making it necessary for you to be close by when we get the call that we have a heart for your child. That’s why we assign you a transplant coordinator, who not only helps you understand the medical steps of the process but also teams up with transplant-trained social workers and psychologists to support you and your entire family emotionally and logistically, including helping you secure lodging, transportation, and more. After transplant, we stay connected with you and the referring doctor to ensure your child’s good health and positive transition back to school and activities. We have developed relationships with cardiologists throughout the Western states.

What can I expect for my child after heart transplant?

Typically, transplantation requires a several-week stay in the hospital. After months of recovery, your child can expect none or very minimal symptoms and a full return to daily life and schooling. Your child will need to take medications for life to prevent the body from attacking the donor heart. Children who have received transplants from us highly rate their quality of life after transplant. Heart transplant often resolves heart failure, but it requires ongoing care. In return, your child can expect an excellent quality of life.

What is the typical survival rate for heart transplants?

Our pediatric heart transplant outcomes are among the best in the nation. Our survival rate is higher than 94% after one year, and the majority of children who receive a heart transplant can expect to grow into adulthood.

How do I contact your program or initiate a referral from my doctor?

For referrals, please have your child’s cardiologist or pediatrician contact us at (844) 393-4474. You can see our complete list of locations and contact information here.