Conditions that may lead to heart failure
- Congestive heart failure
- Congenital heart disease
The Children's Carlos and Marguerite Mason Transplant Center provides full pre- and posttransplant services for children in need of a heart transplant.
Before your child is approved for a pediatric heart transplant, he will undergo a pre-transplant evaluation—a series of tests that may include a routine medical exam, blood tests, imaging tests, breathing tests and other evaluations.
If the child, family and heart transplant team decide that a pediatric heart transplant is needed, the next step is to place the child on the waitlist for a donor heart.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the national agency that oversees organ transplantation. This agency works with our local procurement agency, LifeLink of Georgia, to recover organs. UNOS also maintains the national computerized list of people waiting for heart transplants.
Once a decision has been made to move forward with a heart transplant, the heart transplant coordinator will place the child on the heart transplant waiting list through the UNOS secure website. The child will be listed as a status 1A, status 1B, status 2 or status 7.
Status 1A: The patient must meet at least one of the following conditions:
Status 1B: The patient must meet at least one of the following conditions:
Status 2: A patient is requiring a heart transplant but does not meet the criteria for Status 1A or 1B.
Status 7: A patient is inactive on the transplant list. For example, he is too sick or too healthy to accept an organ.
The donor process
The UNOS list has a pool of patients who are waiting for a heart donation. When a heart is available, UNOS searches their entire pool for a potential match.
Factors involved with matching include:
Families often want to know the age of the donor and how the donor died. Information about the donor cannot be shared. Likewise, information about the heart transplant recipient and his family will not be given to the donor's family without consent.
LifeLink will contact the donor family to let them know which organs were successfully transplanted. If the transplant recipient's family gives permission, we will give LifeLink a small amount of nonidentifying information about the child as they strongly believe that following up helps the donor family move forward as they grieve the death of their child.
If families wish, they can write a letter to the donor's family that does not include identifying information. The Children's heart transplant coordinator will send the letter to LifeLink of Georgia, which will forward it to the donor family.
In conjunction with Emory University School of Medicine, our heart transplant team is committed to excellence and innovation in pediatric heart transplant research. We are devoted to developing new and better preventive, diagnostic services and treatments through research.
Children's is home to one of the largest pediatric heart transplant programs in the country. Combining the latest proven technology and research with a caring, child-friendly approach, makes Children's a top choice for pediatric heart transplantation.
Family involvement is a crucial part of recovery. That's why we offer programs and events that involve the entire family.
Transplant patients and their families have basic and extraordinary mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and Children's has many services available to meet them.
Many families travel great distances to Children's for transplantation. To meet the needs of those families, we offer transitional or temporary housing options that have been carefully chosen for safety, cleanliness, amenities and proximity. The housing options for transplant patients include the Mason Guest House and the Ronald McDonald House near Egleston.