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Heart Transplant Program

The UCSF Heart Transplant Program has performed more than 250 transplants since its first transplant in March 1989.

Heart failure affects nearly 5 million Americans and causes or contributes to as many as a quarter of a million deaths each year. It is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle weakens and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body. Because more people are surviving heart attacks but being left with weakened hearts, heart failure is the only major cardiovascular disorder on the rise. Between 400,000 to 700,000 new cases are reported every year.

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  • Hear an interview with Dr. Georg Wieselthaler, director of the UCSF Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, and his patient Chris Wade, who discuss implated devices that can sustain a failing heart until a donor heart becomes available, and how a heart transplant saved Wade's life.

Heart transplants are the most advanced treatment for end-stage heart disease — the final phase of heart disease when there is no effective treatment remaining.

Patient Survival Rate

Each year, 15 to 20 heart transplants are performed at UCSF, with more than 260 patients transplanted to date, including 10 heart-lung and 20 heart-kidney transplants. Patients are evaluated by a cardiologist, dietitian, heart transplant surgeon. pharmacist, physical therapist and transplant nurse coordinator before determining if a heart transplant is appropriate.

The survival rate for patients receiving heart transplants at UCSF is excellent. Recent national data compiled by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients found that the one-year survival rate for heart transplantation at UCSF was 96 percent compared to an average national rate of 90 percent.

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You'll need a referral from your primary care provider or specialist to make an appointment. Once you have the referral, please call the number below.

Getting Here

Heart Transplant Program
400 Parnassus Ave., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-4145
Fax: (415) 353-4166

Hours: Thursday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (times vary depending on the number of doctors in clinic)

What to Bring

    If possible, please send in advance CT scans, chest X-rays, all test results and all other images for review. To ensure a comprehensive first visit, please bring copies of these medical records to your appointment as well.

What to Expect

    For your first appointment, please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time.

    Follow the directions, which will be mailed to you, to obtain an EKG.

    You will be seen by members of the heart transplant team including a transplant cardiologist and transplant nurse coordinator.

    Your evaluation may take one to three hours.

Parking

Parking at Parnassus

Public parking for an hourly fee at UCSF Medical Center is available in the seven-level Millberry Union Garage at 500 Parnassus Ave. There are two garage entrances — one on the north side of Parnassus Avenue and another on Irving Street, just east of Third Avenue.

Another garage with an hourly fee, at 350 Parnassus Ave., is open Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Metered street parking is rarely available.

Patients being admitted to the hospital may be dropped off at the circular driveway leading to the main entrance at 505 Parnassus Ave. This area also may be used to pick up patients who are being discharged.

For more information about parking at Parnassus, call Campus Parking Services at 476-2566.

Valet Parking Service

Valet parking service is available at the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) at 400 Parnassus Ave. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The valet service is free but patients must pay regular parking fees. For more information about the valet service, call (415) 476-6200.

A UCSF "greeter" also is available at the ACC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist patients find their way.

Public Transportation

Parnassus

UCSF Medical Center is accessible via Muni streetcar line N-Judah*, which stops at Second Avenue and Irving Street, and the following Muni bus lines, which stop in front of the hospital:

  • 43-Masonic*
  • 6-Parnassus

For more information about Muni visit, www.sfmuni.com.

* Wheelchair accessible bus routes

Referrals

If you're a cardiologist or primary care doctor wishing to refer a patient, please contact the UCSF Heart and Lung Transplant Program by phone at (415) 353- 4145, option 1 or by fax at (415) 353-4166.

You can download a referral form here.

Our team will work closely with you to assist in managing the treatment of your patients with risk factors for heart failure as well as those with mild, moderate and advanced stage disease.

Medical History

We will ask that you provide your patient's medical history as well as physical examination and test results for review by the medical director of the program. The information for review includes:

  • Clinical summary, including all current medications and treatment plans
  • Demographic and insurance information
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) and chest X-rays
  • Lab test results

For women, we request a gynecological exam with Pap smear within the past year as part of an overall health assessment. For patients age 40 or older, we ask for a mammogram within the past year.

For men age 40 or older, we ask for a prostate-specific antigent (PSA) test as part of the overall health assessment.

Evaluation

After the patient's information is reviewed, an appointment will be scheduled, if appropriate, for an evaluation with the heart transplant team. The team includes a cardiologist, dietitian, pharmacist, physical therapist, social worker, transplant nurse coordinator and transplant surgeon.

If your patient is a potential heart transplant candidate, we will schedule appointments for additional evaluations.

Treatment Plan

When the evaluation is completed, you and your patient will receive a written summary of the results and the process to select heart transplant candidates. Shared management guidelines are developed and a care plan will be discussed.

As part of our treatment options, the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program offers ventricular assist devices for every patient.

Other treatment options include experimental medicines and device trials not available at other medical centers.

Because we offer the simultaneous transplant of heart and kidney, more patients become eligible to receive heart transplants.

Please contact the Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support programs at (415) 353- 4145, option 1, if you have any questions during the process.

Other Contact Information

  • Cell phone of cardiologist on service: (415) 514-8866.
  • Heart Failure and Pulmonary Hypertension Program: (415) 353-9088