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Heart Transplant Program

The Heart Transplant Program at Children’s Mercy provides care for children who have no other medical or surgical options to fix a failing heart without serious risk. The transplant program is part of the Ward Family Heart Center, which is nationally recognized as one of the top pediatric heart centers in the nation. 

In addition to comprehensive transplant services, we also offer ventricular assist devices (VADs) as a bridge to support children in heart failure who are waiting for a heart transplant. This allows them some freedom and flexibility to continue to learn, grow and develop while they are in the hospital. 

Learn more about the Heart Failure program at Children's Mercy.

Conditions associated with heart failure

A child may need a heart transplant for several reasons, including: 

  • Cardiomyopathy (weak heart muscles) 

  • Congenital heart disease (heart disease a child is born with) 

  • Continued heart problems following surgery for a congenital heart disease, such as the heart not working properly or the valves being too leaky 

  • Life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms that cannot be controlled any other way

Your heart care team

The Heart Transplant Program at Children’s Mercy pulls together many types of specialists to meet all your family’s needs. Your team will include: 

  • Cardiac surgeons 

  • Cardiologists 

  • Advanced practice nurses 

  • Psychologists 

  • Infectious disease specialists 

  • Transplant pharmacists 

  • Transplant coordinators 

  • Nutritionists 

  • Social workers 

  • Spiritual services 

  • Child-life specialists

  • Financial coordinators 

What to expect during the heart transplant process 

The heart transplant process is complex, but you’re not alone. Imagine an entire conference room filled with people—that’s the dedicated team who will walk alongside you the whole way. 

While your child’s situation is unique, our transplant team will incorporate their many successful previous transplant experiences into crafting a transplant plan that’s just right for you. 

Find out more about what to expect before, during and after a heart transplant at Children’s Mercy. 

Follow up care after a heart transplant

We work together with your primary care provider and other specialists to coordinate the long-term care and management of your child’s health care needs. 

Your child can continue to receive follow-up care at the Heart Center until they are ready to transition to an adult provider. We will connect you with an adult provider who has expertise in caring for transplant patients and make sure they are aware of your child’s complete medical history.

Nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report

The Heart Transplant team provides comprehensive care, family support and education for children with heart failure who need a transplant. 

We prepare your child and family for the transplant process and answer all your questions. The same team will be with you throughout the process, so you’ll always know who to call or message with concerns along the way. 

Our transplant coordinators, surgeons and physicians are all available for consultation and assistance at all times. Multiple specialties from across the hospital will collaborate on a two-day process to evaluate your child before a transplant.


Inside Pediatrics: Leah's story

Leah was born with half a heart, and despite several surgeries, it’s failing fast. Cardiac and critical care specialists work to keep her alive, hoping a new heart can be found in time.

Heart transplant: Hannah's story

Fifteen year old Hannah could pretend her heart wasn’t a problem during marching band practice by “fake playing” as she paraded around the field. But eventually, the cardiomyopathy that plagued her family forced her off the field and into a hospital bed. There, she could only wait for a donor heart to save her life. Hannah became the first heart-transplant patient at Children's Mercy.