Heart Transplant

When a heart can no longer work adequately either because of chronic cardiovascular disease or viral infection, a heart transplant may be needed to save that person’s life. Heart transplantation is a procedure by which the failing heart in a patient is replaced with another heart from a suitable deceased donor. Heart transplantation is generally reserved for patients with end stage congestive heart failure who have an estimated survival of less than one year without the transplant. In addition, these patients are not candidates for or have not been helped by conventional medical or surgical therapy.

The disease processes that lead to end stage congestive heart failure can be divided into the following categories:

  1. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  2. Ischemic cardiomyopathy (due to coronary artery disease)
  3. Congenital heart disease and other diseases not amenable to surgical correction

Cardiomyopathy is disease of the heart muscle itself. The heart muscle stretches to a point that it loses its ability to pump blood effectively, like an overstretched rubber band. This leads to congestive heart failure and the need to support the heart through medications, mechanical support (ventricular assist devices, balloon pumps,etc) or heart transplantation.

Facts About Tampa General Hospital’s Heart Transplant Program:

  • In 1985, Tampa General became the first hospital in Florida to perform a life-saving heart transplant. Since then, more than 1,200 adults have benefited from this procedure at TGH, making us the sixth busiest cardiac transplant center in the nation and the busiest center in the state of Florida.
  • Our oldest living heart transplant patient has now survived 27 years since transplantation.
  • Our three-year patient survival is comparable to the national average.
  • Our wait time to receive a heart is among the shortest in the nation and the shortest in Florida: on average 50 percent of our patients on the waitlist are transplanted within three months of listing, based on the latest data.
  • Since 2001, we have averaged 55 transplants per year, which places us as the leader in heart transplantation in Florida and in the top four of centers in the nation.
  • We are a recognized leader in mechanical circulatory support as a bridge to recovery, bridge to transplant and destination therapy. We offer a wide selection of support devices such as Heart Mate II, Levacor, Duraheart, Impella, Abiomed, Heartware and Centrimag.

Click here to view a video of a two-time heart transplantation recipient’s story.