Heart Transplant Program, Delaware Valley

Contact Us
Heart Transplant Program, Delaware Valley
Contact Us
Heart Transplant Program, Delaware Valley
Contact Us
Heart Transplant Program, Delaware Valley

Excellent Outcomes, More Tomorrows

Children with a heart transplant can, and do, grow up, go to school and enjoy active lives. Especially when they have team-based, expert care and support before, during and after transplant surgery.

Surgeons at the Nemours Children’s Cardiac Center, Delaware Valley performed the very first pediatric heart transplant in Delaware in 2005. Under the leadership of world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Christian Pizarro, MD, we’ve built a recognized, integrated heart transplant program focused on the needs of your child and family.

We guide you through the process. And we prepare you physically and emotionally for the best possible outcomes. Our cardiothoracic surgery team works closely with specialists in pediatric heart failure, cardiac anesthesiology, cardiac critical care, cardiac psychology, pharmacists, nurses and many others. We’re here as your child grows, with advanced care and programs that begin before birth up to age 40.

Our team is your source for support, hope and inspiration. We work to give your child the best chance to live, and to run, play, dance and soar to their highest ability. 

“A Second Chance at Life”

Eric came to us at 3 months old with an enlarged heart. See how he’s dancing and growing strong after his heart transplant. 

Heart Transplant Expertise You Can Trust

Our surgeons are internationally recognized for performing the most complex surgeries on the tiniest hearts. We know when it’s time for a heart transplant and begin the process quickly.


Heart transplants in last 10 years


Heart surgeries in Cardiac Center last year


Children cared for by our Nemours cardiology division each year


Heart specialists on our cardiology team from Delaware to Florida

We offer the full range of heart care, from advanced mechanical circulatory support to cardiac rehabilitation and neurodevelopmental support, and more.

We give children with highly complex conditions a chance to have a new heart, helping kids that other programs may not. 

Our surgical outcomes, or success rates, for the most advanced surgeries are better than national averages.

Our team is researching and leading clinical trials to find ways to prevent, detect and treat heart failure and make surgery safer for kids. 

Families and providers around the world come to us for second opinions on heart transplant surgery.

Meet the Team

The Nemours heart transplant team is experienced and focused on your child's healthiest future. Meet them now. 

Leading Heart Care at a Leading Children’s Hospital

Our heart center in Delaware Valley provides highly advanced, integrated, team-based heart care just for kids and young adults with congenital heart defects. We offer many focused programs, leading-edge research and amazing outcomes. 

Families have access to robust support services onsite, like school programs, creative therapies, pet therapy and pastoral care. We also have a Ronald McDonald House nearby, so your family can stay together. 

Take a Virtual Tour

The Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware has all the conveniences you need, with spacious rooms, areas for play and respite, beautiful gardens and more. Take a virtual tour now.

Programs & Services

Children with end-stage heart failure may need a transplant to live. We begin the process as soon as possible. 

We offer the full range of medical and surgical care leading up to heart transplant including:

Heart Transplant Evaluations


We explain everything and give you the information and tools you need to make the best decisions for your family. We walk your family through the process, performing all the needed medical, psychological and social assessments to help ensure success. We also offer second opinions for providers and families to help them decide the best path forward.

Getting on the Heart Transplant List


We’re part of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), an organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system for the federal government. We submit your child’s assessment and they match an organ when available.

Heart Failure Management 


Whether your child is home, at the hospital or in critical care, our heart failure team helps keep your child healthy and strong while waiting for transplant. We manage their heart care with medicines, cardiac rehabilitation, nutritional counseling, cardiac psychology support, interventional heart procedures, electrophysiology services, cardiothoracic surgery and more. 

As a Cardiomyopathy Foundation Accredited Center of Care, we offer the highest quality of care available.

Mechanical Circulatory Support


For hearts that need help to work, our experts use the latest mechanical circulatory support devices, like extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices (VADs) as a bridge to transplant. We customize services to your child’s specific needs.

Nemours is recognized for excellence in pediatric heart surgery. Our survival rates are among the best in the nation. 

We’re pioneers and leaders in the field. We were the first in state of Delaware to give a child a new heart, and we develop new surgical methods for kids with rare and complex heart conditions. 

Our transplant surgery care includes:

  • Elite experts in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac anesthesiology, cardiac critical care, cardiology, inpatient heart care, nursing and many others who work as one team 
  • Advanced heart imaging, like 3D echocardiography and heart MRI to help plan a more precise, accurate surgery
  • Minimally invasive methods, like those that need fewer, smaller cuts on the outside of the skin to help with recovery
  • ABO-incompatible heart transplants, or using a heart from a donor that doesn’t match your child’s blood type 
  • Advanced life support and the latest equipment to monitor your child closely throughout transplant surgery
  • Experience in multi-organ transplants in children, including heart-lung, heart-kidney, heart-liver and others
  • Heart transplants for all ages, from infants to adults up to age 40
  • Re-transplant surgery, as donor hearts last about 25 years   

Learn More from Nemours KidsHealth®

If your child needs a heart transplant, you have many questions. Learn about heart transplant surgery, the process and what to expect from the experts at Nemours KidsHealth.

Immediately after transplant, our cardiac critical care team, that’s been part of your child’s care from the start, closely monitors your child’s recovery in our fully equipped critical care unit.

We partner with your child’s surgeons, cardiologists and cardiac anesthesiologists, and work closely with pharmacists with advanced experience in pediatric heart transplantation. We use the latest medicines to prevent organ rejection and reduce the risk for complications. 

Our cardiac Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program ensures we’re doing everything we can before, during and after surgery to make it a little easier on you and your child. 

And our inpatient heart care team provides extensive, hands-on training on how to care for your child at home after transplant. 

At Nemours, heart care doesn’t end after transplant. Our heart center offers integrated programs and care throughout your child’s life, including:

  • Cardiac rehabilitation therapies, which includes inpatient and outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy and other support to help your child grow stronger
  • Cardiac neurodevelopmental support to help protect behavioral, emotional and intellectual health so your child can develop to their highest ability
  • Nutritional support, using healthy foods that aid in recovery
  • Complete condition management to help detect problems and prevent complications that can happen after transplant
  • Quick, convenient access to more than 30 pediatric specialties, like kidney specialists, hematologists and others, on-site and close to home
  • Support services that begin on your very first visit, like social work, Child Life, creative therapy, pet therapy, pastoral care, family lodging at the nearby Ronald McDonald House and more

Conditions & Treatments

We see many conditions — far too many to list here. The conditions we treat vary depending on the location and providers selected. Don’t see a condition listed? Call us.

A young student plays with blocks and gives a high-five to a young female teacher.

Empowering You to Care for Your Child at Home

The Nemours inpatient heart care team helps you prepare for and manage your child’s care at home. We make sure you have everything you need, including training on devices, equipment and medicines before you leave.

Close-up of smiling mom and smiling preschooler looking at laptop

Convenient Follow-Up Appointments by Video

We offer follow-up appointments through scheduled, live video visits. You can avoid waiting rooms and save travel time. Ask your doctor if this is an option for your family.