Heart Transplant

A heart transplant is a procedure in which a damaged or diseased heart is replaced with a healthy one, usually in patients with advanced heart failure that prevents blood from being effectively pumped throughout the body. Common conditions that can lead to advanced heart failure and heart transplantation include coronary heart disease, damaged heart valves or muscles, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), a congenital heart defect (meaning you’re born with it), and viral infections of the heart. In most cases, a heart transplant is not considered until other treatment options have failed. Most recipients are able to return to normal activity levels after recovering from the surgery.

The UAB Heart Transplant Program has evolved into one of the most distinguished programs of its kind in the nation, since performing the first heart transplant in the Southeast in 1981. Building on that groundbreaking achievement, UAB has performed hundreds of heart transplants since that time. Our long history of success stems from our highly skilled transplant team, dedication to patient care, and pioneering advances in heart transplantation. The program is committed to caring for patients at every stage of the process, from pre-screening to post-transplant care.

Our program has achieved worldwide recognition for outstanding patient survival rates and skilled cardiologists and surgeons, who are recognized leaders in treating cardiac disorders. Transplant patients receive exceptional, comprehensive care from an experienced team of specialists that also includes nurses, dietitians, transplant coordinators, mental health professionals, and transplant social workers. During each phase of the transplant process, our patients have access to educational material and teaching sessions – including classes and supportive face-to-face discussions – to reduce anxiety and help them look ahead to the future.

UAB Medicine is a leader in the use of mechanical circulatory support devices as a short-term fix for patients awaiting heart transplants and those with end-stage heart disease. For example, our ventricular assist device (VAD) program performed its first procedure in 1989 and has completed more than 750 since 2000 alone, with a two-year survival rate that consistently exceeds accepted regulatory goals. Also, our extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program provides mechanical heart and lung support to more than 150 patients each year, including many awaiting transplantation. This expertise makes UAB a major referral center and reinforces our standing as one of the most advanced and innovative transplant centers in the United States.


  • Why Choose UAB for Transplant | Providing the highest caliber of care to our patients
    Why Choose UAB for Transplant
    Convenience, innovation, and expanded access to organs set the UAB Comprehensive Transplant Institute apart in providing the highest caliber of care to our patients.
  • Zaidan's Story | Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome/Heart Transplant
    Zaidan’s Story | Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome/Heart Transplant
  • Bob Boyer | Heart Transplant
    Bob Boyer | Heart Transplant
  • Skip Monaghan | Heart Transplant
    Skip Monaghan | Heart Transplant
  • Cooper Pierce | Heart, Double-Lung Transplant
    Cooper Pierce | Heart, Double-Lung Transplant

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