Heart Transplant Program

Our experts offer complete medical and surgical care for advanced heart failure, heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support.

Heart Transplant Program

Our experts offer complete medical and surgical care for advanced heart failure, heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support.

World-Class Heart Transplantations

Heart failure and other heart problems are among the leading causes of death in the United States.

At the USC Heart Transplant Program, we provide expert care for heart failure and other serious conditions. We perform heart transplants for severe cases, replacing a damaged or diseased heart with one from a donor. We are among the few programs on the West Coast that offers access to the left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a mobile device that allows eligible patients to safely wait for heart transplantation while at home.

Your care team includes world-renowned specialists, who work together to design a treatment plan personalized to your unique health needs. We’ll also make sure you and your family know what to expect at every stage of your treatment and recovery journey.

  • We are pioneers in the use of noninvasive heart transplant rejection testing, greatly reducing the need for invasive biopsies.
  • Our program is certified by Medicare for our wide range of heart repair treatments, including heart transplants.
  • We work closely with your referring doctor to provide the care you need at every stage of your recovery journey.

What is a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)?

An LVAD, also sometimes called a mechanical circulatory support device, helps your heart pump enough blood to the rest of your body. The device is implanted into the left lower chamber of the heart. You might get an LVAD as temporary aid while you are waiting for a transplant, or you might have one implanted as a permanent solution.

Our experts works together to give you complete care and guide you on your journey from diagnosis to implantation and through your follow-up care. Our program has an on-call LVAD nurse practitioner, who offers 24/7 assistance with emergencies or after-hours concerns.

We currently implant the HeartMate3™ device.

We are able to help patients who already have implants of:

  • CentriMag™ RVAD/LVAD
  • HeartMate 3™
  • HeartMate II™ Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
  • HVAD Heartwave
  • Impella 2.5, CP, 5.0, 5.5

Our History

The USC Transplant Institute has been a national leader in cardiac transplantation for more than 30 years. We are committed to moving the science of transplantation forward and offering our patients the best possible care.

  • The USC Transplant Institute started performing solid organ transplants in 1991.
  • We established our Cardiac Transplantation Program in 1993, under the guidance of Dr. Vaughn Starnes and Dr. Mark Barr.
  • In 2009, we received a Transplant Excellence Award from Healthgrades, an independent organization that evaluates health care programs.
  • In 2019, the American Heart Association awarded Keck Hospital of USC its Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for our Heart Failure Program.
  • In 2021, we achieved a new program best: 41 heart transplants performed during a single year — in spite of the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Specialists

View our team
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USC Advanced Heart Failure Center

Our expert cardiologists offer best-in-class treatments to help you live with heart failure.

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Extracorporeal Life Support Program

Our team specializes in the use of ECMO, a potentially lifesaving technology to help critically ill patients experiencing heart failure or lung disease.

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A team of surgeons in uniform performs an operation on a patient at a cardiac surgery clinic

Cardiac Surgery

We provide a complete range of specialized heart surgeries to treat your unique cardiac needs.

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Heart Health Care

Our cardiologists use cutting-edge therapies to reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your quality of life.

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World-class Leadership

Our internationally renowned physicians and clinicians are dedicated to delivering high-quality patient care. We are leaders in cutting-edge treatments, breakthrough research and exceptional outcomes.

Craig Baker, MD

Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery

Clinical Trials

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