Heart Failure and Transplant Program

The Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program treats children who have primary cardiomyopathies or have developed heart failure as a result of a congenital heart defect.

Our diverse team of specialists includes pediatric cardiologists, heart surgeons, nurses, geneticists, psychiatrists, neurologists, pharmacists, social workers and child life specialists, all with expertise in pediatric medicine. Together, we offer families a multidisciplinary approach to care at one of the most advanced programs for pediatric heart disease in the world.

Our team partners with the child's entire family. We encourage open communication, welcome all questions about any aspect of their child's care and are always available to explain the treatment plan and to re-evaluate a child as necessary. We also encourage each family to maintain a relationship with their referring physician, who is an integral part of their child's care. Some patients may see us only for an evaluation, while others may return for further therapy, including surgery or transplantation. In all cases, we will work with families and their physicians to provide the highest quality care. 

About Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure

Cardiomyopathy translates to "heart muscle disease." Children with cardiomyopathy have hearts that are bigger or stiffer than they should be, and this can sometimes change how well their hearts pump blood. There are three main types of cardiomyopathy: dilated cardiomyopathy, where the heart is enlarged; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle is thick; and restrictive cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle is stiff.

Heart failure is when the heart is not pumping blood normally and can present with symptoms such as tiredness, breathing trouble, racing heart rate, leg swelling, dizziness, nausea or belly pain. Since babies and young children cannot always tell others how they feel, many children are not diagnosed with cardiomyopathy until symptoms of heart failure appear. In children without symptoms, cardiomyopathy may occasionally be detected during a routine pediatric exam. When cardiomyopathy is suspected, a full evaluation is necessary to help diagnose and treat the disease. In most cases, the cause of cardiomyopathy is unknown. Sometimes, cardiomyopathy occurs as a result of a metabolic or genetic problem.

At Rady Children'sHospital-San Diego, our Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant team evaluates all causes of heart failure to determine if there are any medical or surgical treatments  available. In some children, when medical and surgical therapy fail, heart transplantation may be an option.

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