BJC and Saint Luke’s Officially Combine as BJC Health System

What to expect during a heart transplant?

During heart transplant surgery, we remove your diseased heart and replace it with a healthy one from a diseased donor. A heart transplant may be the best option if you have end-stage heart failure and other therapies are no longer working. You and your provider discuss if heart transplant surgery is the right treatment for you.

What is the average wait time for a heart transplant?

Our specialists will speak with you about how long you can expect to wait for a heart transplant. They may suggest implanting an artificial heart device to provide temporary support during that time.

What are artificial heart devices?

Artificial heart devices are surgically implanted and keep your blood circulating while you await a heart transplant or other long-term support.

Why choose an artificial heart device?

We have extensive experience implanting artificial heart devices in patients with advanced heart failure. These devices can extend your life and help you stay healthy while you await a heart transplant. You and your provider can discuss if an artificial heart device is right for you.

What kind of artificial heart devices are available at BJC Hospitals?

Your provider may suggest a temporary support device while you await a heart transplant or another long-term solution.

For short-term support, we offer:

  • Intra-aortic balloon pump: A device to help your heart pump blood

  • Impella 2.5, 4.0 and 5.0: Pumps to support circulation

  • TandemHeart: A flexible ventricular assist device (VAD)

  • CentriMag: A circulatory support device outside your body that we may use as a ventricular assist device


Some artificial heart devices can provide you with support for several years. These long-term support devices include:

  • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD): This surgically connected artificial pump treats advanced heart failure. Our heart transplant program has implanted hundreds of LVADs, giving us a high level of expertise.

  • Total artificial heart: We replace your diseased heart with mechanical valves. The device restores normal blood pressure and gives your body necessary blood circulation.


What is ECMO?

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy takes over the work of your heart to oxygenate your blood and remove carbon dioxide from your body.

We are one of the region's only centers offering ECMO therapy. Our specialists may recommend ECMO to circulate your blood for several weeks while you wait for a donor heart to become available or another long-term solution. We may also use ECMO therapy to help you recover from a health crisis before receiving a LVAD or heart transplant.

What are heart transplant alternatives?

If you’re not a candidate for a heart transplant, our team offers a variety of advanced treatments that may prolong your life. Alternatives may include heart surgery or medications.

What heart transplant alternatives do we offer?

We may discuss some heart transplant alternatives with you, including:

  • Use of established or new drugs shown to be effective in people with heart failure

  • Myocardial revascularization (heart bypass surgery)

  • Left ventricular aneurysmectomy

  • Heart valve repair/replacement

  • Mitral valve repair in dilated cardiomyopathy

Darren’s failing heart made it difficult to enjoy life. A LVAD placement allowed him to become healthy enough for heart transplant surgery.

Hear Darren’s Story
Heart Transplant Options News & Resources

Schedule your appointment

Call  (314) 362-9355  or  (800) 392-0936  for more information about our transplant services or to schedule an appointment.

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