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USC - University of Southern California Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine
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Heart Transplant Program

Cardiac transplantation has become a viable treatment option for patients with end stage cardiac disease. The USC cardiopulmonary transplant team is headed by Vaughn A. Starnes, M.D., a world-recognized leader and innovator in heart, heart-lung, lung transplantation, and cardiothoracic surgery. The remainder of the team is composed of experts in their respective fields of cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, immunology, critical care medicine, cystic fibrosis, immunosuppression, and rehabilitation.

The donor heart's left atrium is sewn onto the recipient's left atrium.

We truly believe the clinical expertise and technological sophistication of this cross-disciplinary team is paralleled in very few places around the globe. The cardiac transplant program is available around the clock, 365 days a year.

Heart Transplant Program Links

The USC Heart Transplant Program is Medicare certified for heart transplantation. The USC Heart Transplant Program provides a full range of reparative operations for acquired heart disease such as coronary artery disease and arrhythmia. We are one of only a few centers on the west coast that offers a "bridge" to transplantation utilizing the left ventricular assist device (LVAD). We are also the test center for the electrical left ventricular assist device, a mobile device that allows patients to safely wait for transplantation while in the comfort of their own home. We are extremely pleased and proud of our survival outcomes, more than 90% of our patients return back into the workforce.

Patients eligible for heart transplantation include patients with end stage cardiac disease not amenable to conventional medical or surgical therapies. Most transplant patients are typically healthy, without end stage organ disease, are under the age of 70 and usually carry the diagnosis of cardiomyopathy or coronary disease. Prior surgical procedures are not a contraindication to heart transplantation.

Contraindications to transplantation include severe obesity, active neoplastic disease, systemic or untreatable local infection, tobacco or drug dependency. lack of adequate support systems, and the inability to comply with a strict medical regimen.

Our comprehensive program includes continual transplant team communication with patient/family regarding all aspects of patient's medical care. Patients and families are also given general educational materials about what is expected post transplantation.

We place value on our relationship with the referring physician and are committed to excellent communication to foster high quality continuity of care.

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