Heart Transplant - Florida Hospital Transplant Institute Florida Hospital has established the first heart transplant program in Central Florida, led by three prominent physicians: Hartmuth Bittner, MD, PhD, Barbara Czerska, MD, and Donald M. Botta, Jr., MD. This advanced, fully comprehensive program provides heart transplant patients with all the care they need in Central Florida. The Florida Hospital Transplant Institute specializes in advanced heart failure, cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support programs. The transplant Institute performed Central Florida’s first heart transplant in February of 2012 and looks forward to providing continued care for patients suffering from heart disease. The Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute works closely with the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute to provide heart transplantation services. Patients who are referred for transplantation by his or her regular doctor or cardiologist generally have advanced heart disease or irreversible damage, meaning that your heart is no longer able to function properly. There are medical treatments or therapies, which may help ease the symptoms, however, heart disease, or cardiomyopathy, has no cure. Heart disease can gradually worsen despite therapy, this is when the disease is classified as "end-stage". Once we receive your referral, Florida Hospital's Heart Transplant team will evaluate you for advanced heart failure therapies that may include cardiac transplantation. Once your records and results are obtained, a transplant coordinator will contact you to further discuss your clinical history. A review is done to determine if there are any reasons not to proceed with the evaluation. Criteria for Heart TransplantCandidates will be considered for transplant up until their 70th birthday.Candidate cannot have a major disease which will diminish their chances of long-term survival.No evidence of active cancer within the past five years. Exceptions will be on an individual case review. Free of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use for at least six months, and must remain abstinent throughout all phases of transplant.No evidence of extensive vascular disease that affects circulation, brain, or other major arteries.Psychologically committed to participate actively in the transplant process.Support network to assist with the necessary tests, exams, and assistance in the pre and post transplant phases.Able to follow instructions related to treatment, prescribed medications, appointments, and education meetings. Have adequate insurance coverage for medications that are needed to prevent rejection. To learn more about the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute and their team, click here.