Service & Programs

Heart Failure and Transplantation Program

The first successful heart transplant in Florida was performed at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center in 1986. Since then, surgeons at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center have been performing 30 to 40 heart transplants each year in adults as well as children.

The mission of the multidisciplinary team of specialists at the Children’s Heart Center is to provide the best care for patients with heart failure due to congenital heart defects or acquired heart problems (cardiomyopathy). Using the most advanced and intensive medical therapies, our pediatric cardiologists have been able to delay or even avoid heart transplantation in a growing number of children referred for transplant evaluation.

For those children with end stage heart failure, uncorrectable heart defects, or uncontrollable heart arrhythmias, heart transplantation is one treatment option. The Children’s Heart Center at Holtz Children’s Hospital is the only university based program and has the only pediatric heart transplant center in South Florida. It is the only center able to provide mechanical circulatory support to children as a bridge to heart transplantation when necessary. Our program offers the full spectrum of care for patients with heart failure including:

  • State-of-the-art medical management of congestive heart failure
  • Surgical remodeling of the heart
  • Pediatric cardiac transplantation
    In addition, we offer the implantation of temporary and permanent ventricular assist devices including:
  • ECMO
  • Abiomed
  • Heart Mate
  • Thoratec

Over the last several years, survival rates for children undergoing heart transplantation in our program have exceeded national averages. Holtz Children’s Hospital has a fully dedicated, integrated pediatric heart transplant program able to offer the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art care to children with cardiomyopathy or congenital heart disease, and to adults with end-stage heart failure resulting from any type of congenital heart defect.

The pediatric heart transplant team involves a large number of dedicated specialists including pediatric cardiac surgeons, pediatric heart transplant cardiologists, heart failure specialists, pediatric transplant and heart failure nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, nutritionists, immunologists, pulmonologists, psychologists, and others. The pediatric heart transplant program is part of the Miami Transplant Institute, one of the largest and most comprehensive transplant institutions in the world capable of providing the most sophisticated and state of the art care in the field of adult and pediatric transplantation.

Children’s Heart Center cardiologists and surgeons work in conjunction with members of the liver and kidney transplant programs at Holtz Children’s Hospital/University of Miami to perform combined liver and heart transplant or heart transplant and kidney transplant operations.

Heart failure and transplantation team members include:

Paolo Rusconi, M.D.

Eliot Rosenkranz, M.D.

Theresa Bueno ARNP

Laura Santos ARNP