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Our family of care has grown! Find exceptional pediatric care right here in the greater Charlotte region, or learn more about our services in the Triad region of North Carolina and central and south Georgia.

For some kids with heart problems, medications and surgeries aren’t enough – they need a new heart. If this is the case for your child, we know it can be scary. And we’re here to support you with expert and compassionate care, every step of the way.

Atrium Health Levine Children’s has the only pediatric transplant program in our region, and we have deep expertise performing this complex procedure. We work closely with LifeShare Carolinas, which serves as the link between patients who need transplants and the donors who make those transplants possible. We also take extra steps to make this procedure as easy on your child as possible and put them on track toward a healthier, happier life.

Heart transplants at Levine Children’s

A heart transplant is a major decision that can give kids an opportunity for a more typical childhood. Our transplant process starts with extensive screening, where a team of pediatric specialists including cardiologists, electrophysiologists, surgeons, social workers and other experts evaluate your child’s medical history to ensure a transplant is the right choice.

If your child is a good transplant candidate, we’ll put them on the waiting list for a new heart. When needed, we use heart pumps like ventricular assist devices (VAD) to help a child’s heart beat strong until a new heart is available. These pumps can support some kids’ hearts for years.

When it's time for surgery, your child is in expert hands: U.S. News and World Report ranks Levine Children’s Hospital among the best hospitals in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. Our team uses the latest tools and techniques to make sure transplants go as smoothly as possible. And we’ll continue to support your child for years after their surgery, into adulthood.

Making transplants an option for more children

We work to make sure as many kids as possible are eligible for heart transplants, using tools like:

  • Desensitization. Previously, some children weren’t candidates for heart transplants because they had built-up antibodies (proteins that attack foreign substances in the body) after having multiple blood transfusions. While these antibodies are supposed to protect against foreign substances like bacteria, they may also see a new, healthy heart as an invader. Antibodies may attack the heart, causing the body to “reject” it – but our team can help through a process called desensitization. We use chemotherapy to “erase” cells’ memories so they don’t attack the new heart.
  • ABO-incompatible transplants. Heart transplants typically require a donor of the same blood type, but our team is now offering a way to transplant from different blood types in babies under a year old. Because young babies are still developing, doctors can “trick” their system into thinking the heart is the right blood type – helping more babies get the transplants they need.
Megan EdneyDr WallisDr Maxey

Solving a mystery and saving a life with a new heart

When 14-year-old Megan Edney had severe stomach pain, her care team discovered something they never expected: heart failure. Find out how her doctors found the underlying cause of her health problems – and how less than a week later a heart transplant saved her life.

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