Our Services

Heart and Lung Transplantation

Description of Services

Congratulations to the Heart Transplant Program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC as the recipient of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Silver Medal of Honor for Transplant Programs for achieving better than expected performance on at least two of the following factors: post-transplant graft survival rate, transplant rate, and pre-transplant mortality rate after patients are placed on waiting lists.  Awards were presented for the time period of April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2012.


Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is the world's first comprehensive pediatric solid organ transplant program. It performed its first pediatric heart transplant in 1982. Since then, Children's Hospital's transplant teams have expanded the cardiopulmonary transplant program to include procedures such as heart-liver transplantation, heart-kidney transplantation, heart-lung transplantation and double- and single-lung transplantation. The program's objective is to restore health and wellness to children suffering from heart and lung disease, including congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension.

Children's Pediatric Heart and Lung Transplantation program:

  • Performed the world's first pediatric heart-liver transplant in 1984
  • Performed the first successful pediatric heart-lung transplant in 1985
  • Has performed more than 400 thoracic organ transplants in children to date, including more than 275 pediatric heart transplants, making it one of the most active pediatric transplant centers in the world
  • Has performed more pediatric heart-lung transplants than any other center in the country

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh is one of only five centers awarded NIH grants to develop the next generation of ventricular assist devices. The pump will support the failing hearts of the smallest infants and children until new hearts become available. These mechanical support devices help our patients grow stronger and healthier before surgery, improving their chances for a full recovery. To extend such benefits to infants too small for a traditional ventricular assist device (VADs), we are collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering, Carnegie Mellon University, UPMC, LaunchPoint Technologies and World Heart Corporation to develop a fully implantable mechanical heart pump the size of a nickel. We also pioneered the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a means of short-term support for children awaiting a heart transplant and for children with severe respiratory problems.

To reduce the need for immunosuppressive drugs and help our patients live longer, healthier lives, we are investigating other options for preventing organ rejection, such as inoculation of intrathymic donor bone marrow at the time of transplant. Our National Institutes of Health-supported research also includes studies to better understand post-transplant lymphomas and investigate whether genetic differences contribute to diverse outcomes among transplant patients.

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Last Update
January 30, 2014