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Heart Transplant Surgery

Our expert surgeons have successfully performed more than 800 heart transplant surgeries since our program’s first heart transplant in 1985. Because of this, our surgeons are experts at treating patients with even the most complex cases.

Heart Transplant Surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

The heart transplant process begins with an evaluation and placement on the transplant waitlist. Then you will wait until an appropriate heart becomes available for you. This waiting time varies from patient to patient. Your transplant team will tell you what to expect in general.

Once you are placed on the transplant waitlist, we may call you at any time to receive a heart that has become available. At this point, timing is important. Patients usually should be able to reach Barnes-Jewish Hospital within 3-5 hours of being called for a potential transplant.

Find out more about the heart transplant process.

Heart Transplant Surgery: What to Expect

The transplant surgery usually takes 4 to 6 hours. After the surgery, most people stay in the hospital from 2 to 3 weeks.

The transplant surgery includes the following:

  1. During surgery, the surgical team opens the patient's chest.
  2. The patient is connected to artificial heart and lung equipment that keeps the blood circulating and the lungs working during the operation.
  3. Surgeons remove the patient's failing heart and put in place the donor’s heart.
  4. Surgeons connect the new heart with the patient's blood vessels.
  5. As blood begins to flow and the heart begins to beat, the heart-lung machine is removed.

Learn more about what to expect.

Contact Us

For more information about the heart transplant program at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center, call 855.925.0631.