The numbers tell the story.
The Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Team at Children’s of Alabama, comprised of pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac intensive care specialists, pediatric transplant infectious disease specialists, pediatric cardiac nurse practitioners, pediatric cardiac transplant coordinators, pediatric cardiac pharmacists, counselors, child life specialists, basic science researchers and statisticians, has performed 35 heart transplants between 2015 and 2018. Previously housed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, our team moved into a state-of-art cardiac care facility in the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in 2012. Today, the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center serves as a regional referral center and is the only pediatric heart transplant program in the state. Relocating to Children’s brought several advantages, particularly immediate access to pediatric specialists and better multidisciplinary care for patients.
We provide comprehensive care for patients with advanced heart failure using evidence-based medical management and mechanical circulatory support. Our surgeons also perform heart transplants, including ABO incompatible transplants, in infants. Though the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) considers our program relatively young, the reality is far different given our team’s depth and length of experience. Research is a key component of our program as well, with ongoing studies on cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension and heart transplantation. One major study evaluates alternative immune suppression techniques for post-transplant children. The center also participates in numerous quality initiatives with other transplant programs around the U.S. to identify best practices.
Our close proximity to the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society at UAB, which maintains the largest registry on pediatric heart transplantation in the world, encourages and stimulates basic and clinical research in the field of pediatric heart transplantation and promotes new therapeutic strategies. Since its founding in 1993, registry data has been used to produce more than 100 abstracts and presentations and 87 publications. Today, 56 centers participate in the registry that houses information on more than 6,500 transplants.
We continue to strive forward in our multidisciplinary partnerships to deliver patient- and family-centered care. For more information, visit www.childrensal.org/advanced-heart-failure-and-transplant.
Bennett Pearce, M.D. is the Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant at Children’s of Alabama and Professor of Pediatrics at UAB.
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