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Heart Transplantation

Couple smiling Heart transplantation can be a necessary procedure in order to save the life of an individual who has a heart that is no longer functioning properly due to a viral infection or chronic cardiovascular disease. Heart transplantation entails a surgeon removing an individual’s diseased or damaged heart and replacing it with a healthier organ from a suitable donor. From 1988 to 2013, an average of 2,557 heart transplants has been performed each year in the United States, according to data compiled by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

However, heart transplantation is a major procedure that may not be an appropriate or immediate solution for every individual with a heart condition. Heart transplantation is typically reserved for people who have been diagnosed with end-stage congestive heart failure and have an expected survival rate of less than one year without a transplant, and are not candidates for or have not responded to other conventional medical or surgical therapies.

More than 1,100 adults have qualified to receive a transplant in Tampa General Hospital’s Heart Transplant Program since the program began in 1985, and the average volume of heart transplantation procedures performed at TGH since 2001 (52 per year) makes it one of the busiest cardiac transplant programs in the nation and the busiest program in Florida. Other notable facts about TGH’s Heart Transplant Program include:

  • The time to transplant is the shortest of any heart transplant program in Florida, and one of the shortest in the nation. On average, approximately half of the patients in TGH’s program undergo heart transplantation within 3.2 months of being placed on the waiting list, according to the latest Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data released in July 2015.

  • The program’s one-year patient survival rate (90.97 percent) exceeds the national average (90.39 percent), according to the latest SRTR data. The program's three-year survival rate of 86.36 percent also exceeds the national average (84.36 percent).

  • A team of highly respected transplant surgeons, among many other talented and experienced personnel dedicated to delivering comprehensive care, are involved in TGH’s program.

At TGH’s Heart Transplant Program, heart transplants may be performed to address several specific conditions that are known to lead to end-stage heart failure, including congenital heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, dilated cardiomyopathy, and ischemic cardiomyopathy. Candidates for heart transplantation are determined by TGH’s Heart Transplant Program Medical Review Board based on the information that is provided in a completed cardiothoracic transplant referral form and other factors. For individuals who do not qualify for heart transplantation at TGH’s Heart Transplant Program, alternate treatments may be available.

TGH is a recognized leader in mechanical circulatory support (MCS), and our surgeons can implant ventricular assist devices (VADs) as a bridge to transplant, bridge to recovery, or destination therapy. The team at TGH will help each patient find the treatment option that’s most appropriate for his or her specific situation.