Heart Failure & Heart Transplant Program :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Heart Failure & Heart Transplant Program

The Heart Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital provides comprehensive care to infants, children and even adults with heart failure. Under the direction of Dr. Patrick McConnell, Program Surgical Director, the heart transplant program at Children’s Hospital received national accreditation from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in December 2002 to perform heart transplants.

The first heart transplant was performed in April 2003. Since this time our program continues to grow and gain national and international recognition. Our center received international recognition for performing a domino transplant involving the youngest living donor infant.

Learn more about our program through the links below or call The Heart Center at (614) 722-3108.

About Heart Failure

About Heart Transplant

After a Transplant

Patient FAQ's

Meet the Team

Online Community

Nationwide Children's Hospital's Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dr. Mark Galantowicz, performed a 'bloodless' heart transplant on a 6-year-old boy -- one of the youngest to undergo this procedure.

Ian's Story Update

When medications couldn't heal Ian's failing heart, Nationwide Children's led his family through the long and difficult journey to transplant. View Ian's story.

Photo Gallery

Interview with Ian's Family

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Ian was two months old and stopped eating. We had had a very busy weekend and although I wanted him to eat more, I just thought that he was really tired. It was Sunday afternoon and when I checked his diaper I noticed that he had not had any wet diapers all day long. After calling the pediatrician, she suggested that I take him to the emergency room at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. When we arrived at the hospital the nurse at the desk took us back right away and called doctors to see him immediately.   [read more...]

It really was quite a whirlwind for my husband and me. One minute he was what we thought was a healthy two-month-old and the next minute we were being told that his heart was three times the size it should be and was in congestive heart failure. Ian was in the ICU for weeks. We as his parents were begging all of our friends to get the word out to everyone they knew to pray for our very sick son. My husband and I really believed that God would give us a miracle and heal our son’s little heart. Ian’s heart just wasn’t pumping right. Every time he had an ECHO we just knew they would tell us he was miraculously healed. Weeks passed. The time really seemed to crawl. Our doctors and nurses were wonderful. With their help my husband and I were able to see that without a heart transplant our son would die. I still had the faith that God was going to give us a miracle. I desperately wanted this miracle. 

I could not bring myself to leave Ian’s side. Our girls were being taken care of by our family and I only left Ian to eat or take a shower. We had prayed for Ian’s healing for so long and when we listed him on the heart transplant waiting list my husband and I struggled how to pray. We knew without a new heart our son would die. We also realized that Ian getting a new heart meant that someone had experienced a great loss. 

I remember our transplant day well. Our night nurse tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I had a phone call at the desk. I knew that this was Ian’s day for a chance at life. I got off the phone and the nurses all around the desk hugged me and were so happy for Ian. Then, within that same moment, we all cried. We knew that while we were rejoicing, another family was in deep sorrow. We didn’t have a long wait. Within a few hours we had our family there for support and we were hugging our little boy goodbye telling him how brave he was. My husband always told him, “All the way, we will be with you all the way.” We were given updates during his surgery and even then I asked “Did you check his heart?” Are you sure it did not start working again? I still thought that our miracle would happen at the last minute. That was not how God choose to work. We really believe that we did get our miracle. Our son is alive. He is alive because of a family who even in the mist of grief chose to give the gift of life.

Ian is doing great. We really appreciate life. Every day with each of our three children is a blessing. We thank God continually for Ian’s transplant team. My husband and I were willing to take him anywhere in the world to have this done if we had to. We asked one of the doctors in the ICU that if this were his child which hospital would he take his child to; he said that he really trusted the transplant team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and would definitely have full confidence in having the team transplant a child of his. I know now after our transplant experience that we were in the best place. The entire two months that we were in the hospital with Ian, there wasn’t one nurse or doctor that I would have asked not to have again. They were all so wonderful. They still are with clinic appointments and outpatient procedures. We really have made lifelong friends with some of the doctors and nurses. Thank you. Thank you all for what you have done for our son. We believe that with God’s help, you have given Ian another chance at life.  Although we do not know our donor family, we want to say thank you. You were so brave in giving us the ultimate gift, the gift of life. Without you, Ian wouldn’t probably be here today. A part of you lives on in our son and our hearts.

Ian's Family


Heart Failure & Heart Transplant Services

This guide provides helpful information about our program.

Download and print brochure »

Transplant Cup for Patients and Families

In celebration of our heart transplant patients, The Heart Center at Nationwide Children's came together with transplant patients and families for a night at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Check out the photos »

Make a Referral

featured video

Avrie Nelms received a Berlin Heart while she waited for her new heart on the transplant list.
Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000