Lurie Children’s (Children’s Memorial Hospital at the time) performed Illinois’ first pediatric heart transplant in 1988. Our Pediatric Heart Failure and Heart Transplantation Program, the only program of its kind in the state and a leading transplant program in the country, is widely known for its ability to provide lifesaving treatment to infants, children and young adults with severe heart disease.
Having performed 34 heart transplants in 2019, our surgeons have vast experience transplanting young patients with a wide array of complex and high-risk conditions. Patients’ heart problems range from those present at birth (congenital) to arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy.
Despite the complexity of our patients’ conditions, our patient outcomes are better than national averages for pediatric transplant centers. Specifically, our three-year survival rates for patients and the graft (new heart) are above 90%, compared with the 87% national average. Additionally, our wait list times are much shorter than average, based on information available through the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.
The Lurie Children's Difference
We provide family-centered care, which means the entire family is involved in the patient’s treatment plan. We use a multidisciplinary team to plan your child’s treatment so that your child gets the most comprehensive care possible, along with many support programs. Our team members are from various healthcare specialties, and they bring a variety of experiences to the table. They will all weigh in on your child’s treatment and use their combined perspectives to create a holistic care plan that focuses on the whole person.
Lurie Children’s pioneers research on how to improve children’s congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy treatment, while also researching the causes of childhood heart disease. Current studies focus on topics such as improving quality of life after a transplant and reducing the risk of organ rejection. The hospital is a founding member of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society, a group of hospitals that share a research database dedicated to advancing children’s transplant care.
Care for Families with Cardiomyopathy
The Families with Cardiomyopathy Clinic offers evaluation and treatment for patients with familial cardiomyopathy. In our unique approach, the whole family is seen during the same clinic visit.
Examining cardiomyopathy in parents and children at the same time allows us to develop specialized treatment plans that are customized to your family’s genetic needs. In addition, combining the parents’ cardiac visit with their children’s visit allows for fewer trips to the cardiologist, and fewer missed school and work days. We also offer ongoing treatment, second opinions and genetic evaluation.
Your child’s first appointment with the heart transplant team may include:
A physical exam and a review of their health history
A psychosocial (mental and emotional health) assessment
Imaging and lab tests as needed
A financial needs assessment
After consulting each other, the team will decide if a heart transplant is suitable for your child. If so, we’ll provide support and education through every step of the transplant process and beyond.
Whether your child is a candidate for a transplant or not, we have the advanced resources needed to care for your child. Our 44-bed Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit provides 24-hour intensive care when needed.
To help prepare families for their care with Lurie Children's Heart Center, we have compiled a list of resources about treatment and recovery. Learn how to get ready for an inpatient stay or outpatient visit, and read about our support services for patients and families.
Lurie Children’s is committed to offering our transplant patients and families comprehensive care and offers a wide variety of support services. Visit Family Services to learn more. The following are links to community resources, such as the support groups and educational materials.
Lurie Children's has long been a pioneer in the treatment of congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy in children. Research into causes and outcomes of pediatric heart disease has been a critical component of the Heart Center at Lurie Children's since the early 1960s.
Each year, approximately eight out of every 1,000 babies born will have a heart defect. Over the past 50 years, tremendous technological advances made possible through research have allowed diagnostic and surgical expertise to flourish with better outcomes and longer life expectancy for these patients.
Transplantation-related research has been directed toward the understanding of mechanisms in chronic rejection, establishment of tolerance and xenotransplantation.
Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children's relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please e-mail the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.227.7500.