Children's Heart and Lung Transplant Services

If your child needs a heart or lung transplant, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh can help.

We're the country's first children's solid organ transplant program.

Our surgeons at UPMC Children's Heart Institute perform life-saving transplants on kids who have:

  • Heart disease at birth.
  • Cardiomyopathy.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Pulmonary hypertension.

Types of Heart and Lung Transplants We Offer

Our transplant surgeons are experts in:

  • Heart-liver transplants.
  • Heart-kidney transplants.
  • Heart-lung transplants.
  • Double- and single-lung transplants.

About the Heart and Lung Transplant Program at UPMC Children's Hospital

We have one of the most active children's transplant centers in the world.

Our heart and lung transplant surgeons performed:

  • The program's first heart transplant in 1982.
  • The world's first heart-liver transplant in 1984.
  • The first successful heart-lung transplant in 1985.

Our transplant team was also among the first to use extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

ECMO gives kids short-term support while waiting for a new heart.

We also offer a unique adolescent to adult transition health clinic dedicated to our patients and their families. Experts from theHeart Transplant Transition Program educateand provide resources to young adults – and their families - about heart transplant-related care.

Heart Assist Devices for the Smallest Children

UPMC Children’s has almost 30 years of experience using ventricular assist devices (VADs) to help children with heart failure.

These devices:

  • Support the failing hearts of the smallest infants and children with single ventricle heart disease until transplant.
  • Help kids grow stronger and stay healthy before transplant surgery.
  • Improve their chances for a full recovery after transplant.

Our specialists at the Heart and Lung Transplant program have years of experience in recovery and device removal, making us a leader in heart recovery care.

Finding New Ways to Help Kids Who Need Heart and Lung Transplants

Through our research, we're looking for ways to prevent organ rejection. One hopeful option is using donor bone marrow at the time of transplant.

This will help reduce the need for drugs that suppress the immune system. It will also help children live longer, healthier lives.

Our team is also at the forefront of post-transplant care. We have developed a new, non-invasive approach to watch for rejection after surgery. This will benefit patients by:

  • Avoiding repeat invasive biopsies (which required general anesthesia for children and adolescents).
  • Simplifying the diagnostic routine.

Improving patient quality of life. Another NIH-funded study is to better understand post-transplant lymphomas. This includes looking at whether genetic differences may explain diverse outcomes among transplant patients.

Research and Clinical Studies

As a nationally recognized research center, UPMC Children’s Hospital’s Heart and Lung Transplant Services participates in the latest clinical studies, which involve human volunteers and are intended to add to our medical understanding.