The Nation's Best Heart Transplant Program

The Heart Transplant Program at the University of Chicago Medicine has some of the most experienced cardiologists and cardiac surgeons in the country. We have been performing heart transplants for more than 40 years and continue to advance our knowledge and expertise in transplantation to allow us to provide unparalleled care to our patients.

Leading Illinois in Heart Transplants

UChicago Medicine set a new Illinois record by completing 66 successful heart transplants in 2022. Our nationally and internationally respected program surpassed their own previous record of 61 heart transplants in 2021. Learn more about our heart transplant program's success.

5-Star Heart Transplant Care

UChicago Medicine has a 5-star rating from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for our expertise in heart transplant. We routinely take extremely challenging cases, which include patients who are denied care at other hospitals around the country, and provide the life-saving treatment they need. Our esteemed 5-star rating is a recognition that we offer exceptional care to heart transplant patients, which includes the:  


We have the shortest wait times in the nation for receiving a donor heart.


We have the best survival rates in the country for heart transplant patients. 


We have the highest proportion of African American patients transplanted in the United States.

A Team Approach to Heart Transplantation

At UChicago Medicine, we take a collaborative team approach to each patient's treatment — from candidate evaluation through post-procedure care. Our multidisciplinary transplant team includes cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, nurses, cardiac rehabilitation specialists and social workers that work together to provide the highest level of care and support.

Transplanting High-Risk Patients

[MUSIC PLAYING] I would say, before my activities were always been golfing, basketball, bowling. And I felt to the point where I couldn't do any of those things again. Fatigue, shortness of breath. It's extremely important based on Bible principles that blood is sacred. We view blood as sacred. And it's not that we don't want to live or get the best medical care possible. No, it's just that is what is outlined in God's word, the Bible.

So for me, it's extremely important. And it's a life decision that I will not take blood. And we have a hospital liaison committee. And they had recommended University of Chicago as one of the places that was definitely excellent in doing bloodless surgery. And because of that, their team reached out to me here in Chicago. They reached out to my wife and myself, explaining exactly what they do, exactly what time frame that they do it in.

And based on the recommendation of the HLC and their representatives, then I was able to make a decision. Definitely, Jehovah was able to guide me in the right direction. And that's one reason why we chose here at the University of Chicago.

He went up and down the West Coast. Went to other programs that say they do bloodless surgery but the results weren't great and they weren't really interested in taking care of him, because not only did he need bloodless surgery, he was also ill. And his pressures in his heart were very high. His output was low. And he was in borderline kidney failure.

And so we actually spoke to his cardiologist per the request of the family. And even the cardiologist when he spoke to Dr. Jay said, are you guys sure you can do this because he has this and this. And Dr. Jeevanandam said, yeah, we can do it.

My goal when I was in the hospital, I kept telling myself, I got to do what I have to do so I can get back home to my babies. Being a dad with two girls is a little sentimental. But I kept telling myself, I got to get back home to my babies, I got to get back home to my babies.

What makes us able to do these patients that other people won't do is when you have a good program, you can have a certain margin of error. But with patients who need very, very tight margins of error, like almost no error at all, you need to have a superlative team. And that's exactly what we've done. So we've created a superlative team.

That starts with our cardiologists, and they understand what Jehovah's Witnesses need to go through. Then you have the surgical team. When we operate, it's not like every surgeon does this. So we have a specific group of surgeons, we have a specific group of physician assistant, nurses, perfusionists that take care of these patients.

And so everybody's in sync. Almost, you don't have to talk to each other because we all know what we're going to do. And know all the little things that we do to preserve blood. And we go after every single area where we can lose blood.

So I think within a week or so he got a heart, it worked out great. And his pressures were high in the beginning but we knew how to manage them even in Jehovah's Witness. Those pressures then normally came down when the heart was good. And he [INAUDIBLE]. I think, he left the hospital in a very short period of time, like 14 to 21 days. And he's doing great.

My life is, it's funny. It's a lot better. Not just a lot better, it's very, very good, it's fabulous actually. To be able to walk, to be able to even run a little bit now. i'm starting running. To be able to go play golf, to be able to do all the activities I was doing without being hampered with being tired or fatigued, those things, I can't describe the feeling. It is so wonderful to be able to do those things on a regular basis.

Because when you say heart transplant, everybody, your peers, your friends are like, heart transplant, that's major. But when you're at the University of Chicago, when you're there with the team, and you see how regularly they do these things, it puts you at ease. 

We welcome complicated transplant cases, and many of our patients are considered high-risk, including those who require re-transplantation or bloodless surgeries.

Our team is also advancing heart transplant care by performing transplantation with a heart donation after circulatory death (DCD), a technique that may help patients get transplanted faster.

Additionally, we are one of the most experienced medical centers in the world for multi-organ transplantation. Our cardiac surgeons collaborate with other UChicago Medicine transplant surgeons to perform heart-lung, heart-liver, heart-liver-kidney and heart-kidney-pancreas transplant combinations. 

Proven Success and Continued Excellence Post Transplant

The outlook for patients who have heart transplants here is excellent — our results are among the best in the nation. We have a long history of providing superb transplant care, and we are continuing to build upon our success through surgical innovation and world-class medical care.

Heart Transplant Process

If you are a candidate for transplant, you can learn more about our heart transplant surgery process.


Conditions That Lead to Heart Transplantation

In most cases, heart failure is caused by an underlying, progressive illness. If you have an underlying condition that is not being managed, it can weaken your heart and exacerbate heart failure, requiring heart transplantation. Some of the conditions that lead to transplantation include:

Help When Traveling from Outside the Chicago Area for Medical Care

For Logan Andrews and his family, traveling from North Carolina to Chicago for Logan's heart and liver transplant care required special assistance beyond medical expertise. The family turned to the Destination UChicago Medicine team to help scheduling appointments, arranging travel and finding accommodations. 

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To speak to someone directly, please call 1-773-702-9461. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.


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