Heart Transplant

The Children's Heart Center at Phoenix Children's Hospital is proud to provide the region's only dedicated pediatric heart transplant program. Pediatric heart transplants are among the most complicated procedures and patients require a lifetime of care. A heart transplant is recommended for children who have serious heart dysfunction that cannot be managed with medications or other surgeries. While we often consider heart transplantation as a last resort, the goal is for children who have received a heart transplant to regain their full strength and enjoy an excellent quality of life.
Heart Transplant Evaluation

A comprehensive evaluation is performed as part of the process before a child is placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant. This evaluation allows the family to gain an understanding of the risks and benefits of heart transplant as well as allow the medical team to decide if heart transplant is the best option for a particular child and family. As part of the evaluation, the team is also always looking for options to improve the child's medical condition without transplant and this may include different medication treatment, arrhythmia management or alternative surgical or cardiac catheterization procedures. If a transplant is deemed the best option then the child can be placed on the heart transplant waiting list.

Innovation and Research

PCH physicians have been leaders at developing techniques to make transplant and mechanical circulatory support safer for children with advanced heart failure.

Virtual transplant and device implantation: In cooperation with engineers from Arizona State University – our team has developed techniques to generate 3D printed models of complex congenital hearts to help with surgical planning as well as help families understand their child's heart condition. Further, we have used these techniques to model the fit for mechanical support devices including the Syncardia Total Artificial Heart as well as Heartware and Heartmate II pumps to determine whether and how a given device would fit into a given patient. Our team also has pioneered the ability to use this same technique to decide whether a particular donor heart would be a good fit for a patient on our heart transplant waiting list. This helps to make sure that we don't turn down a good heart offer for the wrong reasons and may make it easier for patients to get transplanted sooner and more safely.

Virtual Crossmatching: PCH physicians have been involved in the development of virtual crossmatching. This process helps transplant centers identify suitable donor organs for patients who have developed antibodies because of previous blood transfusions or surgeries. Our team includes experts in managing patients with antibody problems before and after transplant.

Physicians and Clinical Staff 

Steven Zangwill, MD - Medical Director, Heart Transplant and Heart Failure / Cardiology
Stephen Pophal, MD – Medical Director of Inpatient Cardiology
Robert Puntel, MD - Pediatric Cardiologist
John Nigro, MD - Surgical Staff Division and Section Chief
Daniel A. Velez, MD - Cardiothoracic Surgeon
April Colón, CPNP – Coordinator, Heart Failure and Transplant
Stacey Grohall, ACPNP - Coordinator, Heart Failure and Transplant
Susan Park, CPNP - Coordinator, Heart Transplant Program


Cardiology / Cardiothoracic Surgery  (602) 888-0788
Direct Heart Transplant / Heart Failure Referral Line (602) 933-8800