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Heart Transplants

Why choose Ochsner Health for your heart transplant care?

If you need a heart transplant, you can receive world-class care in Louisiana. In 1970, John Ochsner Sr., MD, performed the 14th heart transplant in the United States and the first in Louisiana. Since that time, Ochsner has remained a leader in heart transplants. Our expert team consistently ranks among the top heart transplant centers in the country.

The Ochsner Transplant Institute is one of 13 healthcare systems in the U.S. that has performed more than 1,000 heart transplants. We are Louisiana’s only heart transplant center accredited by the United Network for Organ Sharing. The Ochsner Transplant Institute is also a center of excellence for several major insurance companies.

Our surgeons perform approximately 30 heart transplants per year, and consistently maintain some of the nation's highest survival and lowest complication rates for heart transplantation patients. We’re skilled at caring for patients with complex needs and able to perform multi-organ transplants. In 2018, Ochsner was the first in the region to perform a combined heart and lung transplant.

In addition to heart transplants, Ochsner offers extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and one of the country’s most extensive left ventricular assist device programs. These treatments can be a bridge to cardiac transplantation. Ochsner is also home to the region’s only pediatric heart transplant program.

Thanks to recent technological advancements and techniques, heart transplantation is now available to more patients than ever before. If you were told you’re not a good candidate for a heart transplant or feel uncertain about your options, we encourage you to meet with the Ochsner heart transplant team for a second opinion.

Whether you’re just starting to explore the possibility of a heart transplant or are seeking a second opinion, the multidisciplinary Ochsner heart transplant team is ready to provide the care you need.

The Ochsner heart transplant team takes a multidisciplinary approach to care. We know that the heart transplantation process involves more than surgery. In addition to surgical services, our nurse coordinators and social workers work with patients every step of the way to help coordinate care and connect patients and their families with resources to support day-to-day needs. As an Ochsner patient, you can also access financial and psychological counseling to support you at all stages of your journey.

Our team includes:

  • Advanced providers
  • Financial coordinators
  • Nurse coordinators
  • Paramedical staff
  • Perfusionists
  • Program administrators
  • Social workers
  • Transplant cardiologists

The Ochsner heart transplant team also works closely with other Ochsner programs and departments, including cardiology, mechanical circulatory support and additional organ transplant teams. After surgery, we work with your referring physician to ensure continuity of care.

All Ochsner heart transplant surgeries happen at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

Ochsner Heart Transplants Outreach Clinics offer convenient options for presurgical and postsurgical visits for patients outside of New Orleans. We have Heart Transplant Outreach Clinics in:

  • Baton Rouge
  • Covington
  • Kenner
  • St. Tammany

Several types of heart diseases and conditions may lead to a heart transplant, including:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Drug-induced cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Idiopathic cardiomyopathy
  • Postpartum cardiomyopathy
  • Refractory arrhythmia
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy
  • Severe coronary artery disease with scarred heart tissue due to a heart attack
  • Valvular heart disease

The first step in the process is an evaluation by the Ochsner heart transplant team. You’ll have a physical examination, lab tests and imaging tests during the evaluation. Additional tests may be needed depending on your condition and needs. Once the team approves you for surgery, your name goes onto the donor heart waiting list. Your team will also work with you to develop an individualized care plan for your heart transplant surgery and recovery. While waiting for a donated heart, your care team will help you remain as healthy as possible. Many patients benefit from a ventricular assist device during this time.

Ochsner's expert team will use sophisticated techniques and technology to perform your heart transplant. You’ll receive general anesthesia and be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine. This machine keeps blood and oxygen moving in your body throughout the procedure. The surgical team removes the damaged heart muscle and tissue and transplants the donated heart. Typically, the surgery lasts four to six hours but may take longer.

After the transplant surgery, you move to the surgical intensive care unit (ICU). There you’ll receive 24-hour care from our specially trained medical team. The team will monitor your vital signs and watch for signs of complications, such as high blood pressure. The Ochsner surgical ICU features cutting-edge monitoring devices and 24-hour access to advanced imaging technology. If you need additional support following surgery, our team can provide the latest techniques, including ECMO. Our in-house medical team staffs the surgical ICU around the clock. The Ochsner electronic intensive care unit team is also available to assist at any time of day or night. Most patients will stay in the surgical ICU for 1 to 2 days.

You can expect to stay in the hospital for approximately one to three weeks after leaving the surgical ICU. Once you discharge from the hospital, you’ll follow up with your Ochsner heart transplant team regularly. Recovery generally takes about three months. Depending on your needs, you may stay in Louisiana during this time or go to an Ochsner heart transplant outreach clinic for follow-up. Telehealth visits may be an option if you do not live near Ochsner Medical Center or an outreach clinic.

Financial and psychological counseling are available to all Ochsner heart transplantation patients. If you’re traveling from out of town, Ochsner nurse coordinators or social workers can help coordinate housing and other needs.

The Brent House Hotel, located within Ochsner Medical Center - New Orleans, offers a convenient lodging option for patients and their families.

The Ochsner Transplant Institute is actively involved in research and clinical trials. This participation helps bring the latest heart transplant care to Ochsner patients before it's widely available.

Recent and active clinical trials include:

  • Outcomes AlloMap Registry (OAR) Study
  • Surveillance HeartCare Outcomes Registry
  • Utility of Donor-Derived Cell-free DNA in Association with Gene-Expression Profiling (AlloMap) in Heart Transplant Recipients (D-OAR)

If you would like to refer a patient for cardiac transplantation, please call our 24-hour referral hotline at 504-842-0218. Referrals can also be emailed to .

The Ochsner Transplant Institute provides ongoing communication to all referring physicians. Through written correspondence, our team will keep you up to date regarding:

  • Initial clinic visits
  • Surgical information
  • Hospital discharge
  • Routine follow-up visits with the Ochsner heart transplant program

Our team keeps in touch with former patients who received a heart transplant at Ochsner. Additionally, as patients approach the first anniversary of their heart transplant, our team works with the patient and referring physician to reestablish care and help ensure continuity of services.


According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, heart transplant patients in the United States have a one-year survival rate of approximately 91% and a five-year survival rate of nearly 79%.

Once a donated heart that matches your blood type becomes available, it is placed in a special solution and packed on ice for transport to Ochsner. The Ochsner Transplant Institute team takes steps to ensure that donated hearts are transported in the most ideal conditions possible.

The human body often sees a donated heart as a foreign invader, so the immune system tries to eliminate the foreign material like it would bacteria or viruses. To prevent this result from happening, you need to take medication that prevents your body from rejecting the organ for the rest of your life. Your transplant team will work with you to ensure you understand how to take the medicine and manage any potential side effects. You will also have regular testing to help your doctor know how your body reacts to your new heart. This testing helps address any issues as early as possible.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Heart Transplants

Heart Transplants Locations

Heart & Vascular Center of Acadiana
155 Hospital Drive
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m.-noon
Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7