Heart Transplant

The Vanderbilt Heart Transplant Program performs more heart transplants than any other program in the Southeast, with patient outcomes among the best in the nation. Our comprehensive team of specialists have performed more than 1,000 heart transplants for children and adults. Our specialists also provide lifesaving heart-kidney, heart-liver and heart-lung dual-organ transplants for patients with complex conditions.

At Vanderbilt Transplant Center, we treat the highest risk patients, including those who may have been turned away from other heart transplant programs. At our center, you will find compassionate, personalized care.

Heart Transplant: Why Choose Vanderbilt

  • High volume of transplants: In 2017, our team performed 97 adult and pediatric heart transplants – a record number for our program. As the second busiest heart transplant program in the nation, our high volume translates into expert care for you.
  • Excellent outcomes. Outcomes for heart transplant patients at our center regularly exceed nationally established benchmarks. We've earned recognition as a center of excellence and distinction by many healthcare organizations.
  • Recognized care: Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 in Tennessee for heart care by U.S. News & World Report. Our team, including heart transplant surgeons and cardiologists, leads the region in treating advanced heart failure.
  • Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) expertise: Vanderbilt is one of the first hospitals in the region to offer this lifesaving treatment option. With more than 50 VAD devices implanted in 2017, we are one of the largest programs in the country. Our team has access to an expanding inventory of sophisticated mechanical assist devices, allowing us to offer more options to fit your unique needs.
  • A team approach: Our heart surgeons and cardiologists combine their expertise to create a personalized care plan that is right for you. These specialists work closely with a team of psychiatrists and psychologists, transplant pharmacists, nurses and social workers, to provide you with quality care before, during and after your heart transplant.
  • A dedicated inpatient unit: At Vanderbilt, we provide you with a private room, equipped with the latest technology and safety measures. This ensures you and your family receive the highest level of quality care and comfort.
  • Innovative research: Our researchers not only apply the latest research in transplant care, but also pioneer some of the latest innovations. At Vanderbilt, our researchers launched the PREDICT program. This program uses genetic testing to help determine which anti-rejection drugs and doses are best for you. 
  • Access to clinical trials: As the only academic medical center in the region, we offer access to clinical trials investigating new, promising technologies and approaches to transplant care.
  • Caring for veterans: We are one of only five transplant programs designated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide heart transplants to our nation’s veterans.
  • Pediatric heart transplants: We know our smallest patients require a dedicated team of specialists as knowledgeable as they are comforting in their approach to pediatric care. That’s why we provide pediatric heart transplants through Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
  • Support services: Our transplant center offers a variety of support services, from social workers to transplant pharmacists, to help guide you through the transplant process. We also offer a unique Return-to-Work program to help you resume employment and restore your emotional and financial well-being. View our support services.

Heart Transplant: Conditions

Common diseases or conditions that can lead to end-stage heart failure include:

  • Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Retransplant/graft failure
  • Valvular heart disease

Heart Transplant: Treatments We Offer

  • Dual-organ transplant: A dual-organ transplant is a surgical procedure to remove two diseased organs. The diseased organs are replaced with healthy ones from an organ donor. Our team of specialists provide complex heart-kidney, heart-liver and heart-lung transplants.
  • Heart transplant: A heart transplant removes your diseased heart and replaces it with a healthy one from an organ donor. If your heart is weakened or failing, and not improving with medication or other treatments, you may be a candidate for a heart transplant.
  • Ventricular assist devices (VADs): A VAD is a device implanted in the body to help the heart pump blood. You may need surgery to get a VAD if you have severe heart failure. A VAD often supports the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of your heart. Some VADs are designed to also work with the right ventricle, which pumps blood to the lungs, or both ventricles. A VAD can be a primary treatment, or it can be implanted to help you gain enough strength for a heart transplant.

Heart Transplant: Patient Education

The following information can help you understand what to expect before, during and after your transplant surgery.

Heart Transplant: Patient Stories

At 71, Rex Parton had a heart-kidney transplant, proving that ‘age is not an absolute.’ Read Rex’s story.

Heart Transplant Program: Locations

Cookeville
Vanderbilt Heart Transplant Program Cookeville
Cookeville Regional Medical Center
228 West Fourth Street, Suite 200
Cookeville, TN 38501
(615) 936-3500
Map and Directions

Knoxville
Vanderbilt Heart Transplant Program Knoxville
Tennova Physicians Regional Medical Center
900 Oak Hill Avenue, Suite 600
Knoxville, TN 37917
(615) 936-3500
Map and Directions

Nashville
Vanderbilt Heart Transplant Program
Medical Center East
1215 21st Avenue South, Suite 5209
Nashville, TN 37232
(615) 936-3500
Map and Directions

Heart Transplant: For Referring Providers

If you have a patient who needs to be assessed for a heart transplant, we have the expertise, resources and support that are essential for a successful transplant. To arrange a consultation or make a referral, complete our online referral form or contact our heart transplant team at (615) 936-3500.

Referring providers can also complete our Heart Transplant referral form and fax it to our transplant team at (615) 936-3829.

Heart Transplant: Related Programs