Close Get Latest Internet Explorer Get Latest Firefox Get Latest Chrome
Heart transplant program

During the last decade, with the introduction of new immunosuppressive drugs and the development of improved surgical techniques, heart transplantation remains a widely accepted therapy for patients with end-stage heart disease. Our surgeons work with the Inova Transplant Center which has been a pioneer in the Washington DC, metropolitan area, establishing its Heart Transplant Program in 1986, when it recognized a growing need for a center of excellence in lung transplantation. The program is responsible for the area's first heart transplant in 1986 and has launched many other programs, including the ventricular assist device (VAD) and lung transplant programs.


  • We perform over 20 heart transplants a year
  • According to the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients (SRTR), our three-year patient survival rates are better than expected
  • We performed the first heart transplant in the D.C. metro region in 1990, and the first total artificial heart implantation in the D.C. metro region in 2013
  • Click to learn more about Ventricular Assist Device - VAD / LVAD, sometimes referred to as a "bridge to transplant" treatment option

Our team

heart transplant teamOur surgeons were the first in the area to perform a heart transplant. Their dedication to research, training and learning ensures that they are able to provide cardiac patients with access to a level of care that yields excellent surgical results.

We recognize that the prospect of having a heart transplant can be both intimidating and overwhelming, not only for patients but also for their loved ones. We believe that regardless of where you are in the transplant process, you don't need to face your concerns and anxiety alone. Our dedicated transplant team recognizes the special needs of transplant patients and understands that living with a transplant may affect your lifestyle in many ways.


Members of the transplant team are available to speak with referring physicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the center's patient referral numbers:
703-776-2986 or 1-888-677-1778. Referrals may also be emailed to

Who is eligible?

End-stage heart failure is the most common condition for which heart transplant is considered an option. Patients referred for heart transplant may have heart failure as a result of coronary heart disease, a hereditary condition, damaged tissue or an infection.

Generally, a patient considered for a heart transplant has already tried other treatments and may have been hospitalized more than once for heart failure. Heart failure is considered "end stage" when other treatments (such as medicine, implanted devices or surgery) have failed to relieve symptoms.

A patient eligible for a transplant must meet a variety of criteria. Transplant is often not recommended for patients with certain conditions, because the surgery is less likely to be successful. Patients with any of these conditions may not be eligible for a heart transplant:

  • Advanced age

  • Poor circulation
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Smoking
  • Immune system unable to match with a compatible donor
  • Active infection throughout the body
  • Inability (or unwillingness) to follow a permanent regimen of certain medical instructions
  • History of cancer or malignant tumors
  • Certain diseases of the kidney, lung or liver
  • Irreversible pulmonary hypertension


We endeavor to help patients resume many of their former activities, and we encourage patients to maximize their quality of life. With these goals in mind, we provide a wide range of support services to both patients and their families.

The transplant center staff uses a multidisciplinary support system to integrate every aspect of a patient's care before, during, and following the transplant procedure. All the needs of the patient and their families are met through the close collaboration of transplant center specialists. A strong emphasis is placed on family involvement, quality-of-life issues, and the cost-effective delivery of care throughout the transplant process. In addition to being worked-up for transplantation, patients also are evaluated for other treatment protocols.
Monthly transplant educational conferences are available for transplant candidates and their families. Similarly, post-transplant support groups are offered to patients and their families.


In this section:

About the transplant program

Who is eligible?


Transplantation and support services

Meet the team


Contact the transplant program

Transplant Coordinator
Heart Failure/Transplant Program
Inova Heart and Vascular Institute
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, VA 22042-3300
703-776-2986 or 1-888-677-1778
Fax: 703-776-2797


Patient story

Diana Plummer
Diana Plummer
"The whole thing was a miracle." Click to read Diana's story

In this section:

Vascular Disease