Pediatric Heart

At UF Health, our multidisciplinary team approach is equipped to handle heart, lung, and heart-lung transplantation procedures for pediatric patients.

Heart Transplantation

As Florida’s first pediatric heart transplant program, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital has been at the forefront of pediatric heart transplantation for more than 25 years. The program’s purpose is to restore the health and quality of life to children suffering from end-stage heart and lung disease.

The first heart transplant procedure on a pediatric patient in the state of Florida was performed on October 1, 1986. Then, seven years later, in 1993 we performed the first infant heart transplant in the state of Florida. Other firsts include performing the state’s first pediatric lung transplant in 1996, the first pediatric heart/kidney transplant in 1994, the first pediatric heart/lung transplant in 1999, and the first use of the Berlin VAD in 2006. As of June 2012, we have performed 189 pediatric heart transplants.

The pediatric heart transplant program at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital evaluates infants, children and adolescents with end-stage heart disease who are potential candidates for heart transplantation. We are the transplant referral center for the most complex patients in and around the state of Florida.  Our pediatric cardiologists and congenital heart surgeons have pioneered heart transplantation in high risk patients who are not offered transplantation at other centers. The majority of our referrals are for patients with complex congenital heart disease with the remainder done in patients with cardiomyopathy who have failed maximal medical therapy.

Lung and Heart-Lung Transplantation

The UF Health Pediatric Lung Transplant Program is the only one of its kind in Florida and is under the medical direction of Michael Tsifansky, MD, the only pediatric lung transplant physician in the United States who has completed formal training in pediatric pulmonology, pediatric critical care medicine and pediatric cardiac critical care medicine. Our multidisciplinary team of clinicians consists of one cardiothoracic surgeon, one thoracic surgeon, one pediatric transplant pulmonologist, one pulmonologist and four nurse practitioners.

At UF Health, we offer unique medical approaches, such as lung reduction surgery, to treat children with life-threatening lung disease. Our mission is simple: to enhance each patient’s quality of life through compassionate care, access to state-of-the-art medical treatment and ongoing research studies at UF Health.

In 2013, the UF pediatric lung transplant team performed the first heart-lung transplant in a child under the age of two in the state of Florida.

Our Team

Our multidisciplinary team approach, experience, expertise, and ongoing commitment to innovation and compassionate care have set the standard of care for children with end-stage heart failure achieving excellent long-term survival rates.  In a July 2011 report, The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients has measured the percentage of patients who have survived transplant for one month, one year and three years. At our center, of the 20 patients transplanted between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010, 100 percent survived one month, and 90 percent survived one year. Of the 13 patients transplanted between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007, 92 percent survived three years. We exceed the expected survival rates and the national survival rates in each category.