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Programs & Services

Heart Transplant/Heart Failure Program

The Heart Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital offers many programs and services to treat children with advanced heart failure and other conditions.  

We offer tailored diagnostic and therapeutic services, including: 

  • Advanced cardiac imaging and testing, including cardiac catheterization, echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), EKG, tissue biopsy, nuclear, MRI and CT scans
  • Arrhythmia care to evaluate and manage abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart surgery, including minimally invasive, open and hybrid (combined) cardiovascular procedures for complex correction and repair
  • Interventional cardiology for diagnosis and treatment of a variety of cardiovascular conditions
  • Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) including ventricular assist devices (VADs) and total artificial hearts
  • Medical therapy to prescribe medications to manage conditions such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms or fluid buildup, in addition to managing other medications your child is taking for other conditions

Surgical Therapies

In addition to surgeries for congenital heart defects and other disease, our heart team performs hundreds of device implants and heart transplants each year. We closely evaluate patients before recommending advanced therapies, such as heart-support devices, an artificial heart or a heart transplant. Your team keeps you fully informed about what to expect, including risks and benefits of various procedures.

Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS)

When a diseased heart is no longer treatable with conventional therapies, doctors may consider mechanical circulatory support (MCS), such as a ventricular assist device (VAD) or a total artificial heart (TAH) implant.

A VAD is a mechanical pump used to support one or both ventricles – the lower chambers of the heart – to help the heart pump blood to vital organs and throughout the body. With some types of devices, children can go home while they wait for a heart transplant.

Some children need a TAH, which takes over the work of a poorly functioning heart. Our doctors select the most appropriate MCS device to help children feel and function better. In some instances, MCS is a lifesaving bridge for children awaiting an organ transplant.

Your child’s care team provides complete guidance and education at every turn. We will schedule follow-up outpatient clinic visits and discuss a treatment plan that includes ongoing care to monitor and manage implanted MCS devices.

Heart Transplant 

If other alternatives are no longer effective to treat advanced heart failure, doctors on Phoenix Children’s heart team may consider an organ transplant. Participating children and families are thoroughly screened by transplant experts across specialties, including medical social workers.

Our heart transplant review process helps families to learn more as they make important lifestyle and treatment decisions. This process also allows our team to consider any other treatment alternatives, as well as determine the best options for support while waiting for a new heart.  

If a child is approved for a heart transplant, we add the name to a national wait list with details about your child’s condition and needs. When a compatible donor heart becomes available, our doctors check it for compatibility and other factors.  

Your child’s transplant care team will provide instructions and answer your heart transplant questions. Families have full support and guidance along the way, and helpful patient resources.

Cardiovascular Critical Care

A critical care specialist is always available to provide round-the-clock care in the new, ultramodern cardiovascular critical care intensive care unit (CVICU) at the Phoenix Children’s Heart Center. Critical care doctors, technicians, nurses and other specialists cooperate to stabilize, monitor and manage your child’s condition.

Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

After an organ transplant or other surgeries or extended illness, your child may require inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Our cardiac rehab team manages care and helps your child to heal and grow stronger. Services include respiratory therapy, physical therapy, and other therapies and support.

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