The Multi-Organ Transplant clinic performs pediatric heart transplants, and cares for patients before, during and after the procedure.
This clinic was established in 1994 to co-ordinate the care of children who had undergone solid organ transplantation. Until 2013, the majority of heart transplants were done either in Edmonton or Toronto, but under the direction of Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi the proposal for a pediatric heart transplant program at BC Children's Hospital was developed, and finally approved, by the Provincial Health Services Authority and BC Transplant in 2013.
Dr. Gandhi worked for 17 years as a cardiothoracic surgeon in pediatric hospitals in St. Louis and Pittsburgh. There, he performed over 200 pediatric heart transplants. Five heart transplants were done in the first two years of the program. BC Children's Hospital continues to collaborate with the heart transplant programs at Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
After heart transplant, patients are followed closely in the clinic. At 18 years of age, patients are transitioned to their local adult transplant follow-up program.
The first human heart transplant was performed in 1967 in Cape Town, South Africa. The following year, the first infant heart transplant was performed in New York. This transplant was unsuccessful. Many years later, in 1984, Dr. Leonard Bailey transplanted a baboon heart into a new baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome at Loma Linda in California. This procedure captured world-wide attention and inspired research and innovation into pediatric heart transplant.
Now, heart transplants are done successfully in children from as early as 36 weeks gestation. The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto pioneered ABO-incompatible transplant for infants in 1996, which has helped to address the problem of organ donor crisis for infants.