Since cardiomyopathy can be a progressive condition, the heart may deteriorate to the point where medication, mechanical treatments or surgery are no longer effective. When a child no longer responds to other treatments and has persistent symptoms of heart failure or suffers severed disability, a heart transplant may be recommended as a procedure of last resort.
Cardiomyopathy is the leading reason for heart transplants in children. Roughly 20% of infants and children with symptomatic cardiomyopathy require a transplant within the first year of diagnosis. While a donor heart can cure the symptoms of heart failure and improve survival, a heart transplantation is major surgery with many post-surgery considerations. Possible risks include infection, organ rejection, coronary artery disease and the side effects of medications. An experienced pediatric heart transplant center will provided coordinated care, comprehensive management and continuous follow-up to ensure the best outcome for your child.
The heart transplant process is involved and the different stages include:
Your child’s heart transplant team will help you get through the entire process. CCF has partnered with the Pediatric Heart Transplant Foundation to develop a helpful resource that explains the entire heart transplant process from assessment and listing to surgery and post transplant care. The guidebook, Pediatric Heart Transplants: A Guide for Patients and Families, draws on the experience and knowledge of the top pediatric heart transplant specialists in the U.S. and Canada. To view the guidebook, please click here.