What is a heart transplant?

A heart transplant is the most advanced treatment for end-stage heart disease. When there is no other effective medical or surgical treatment available, a heart transplant is the final option for treating the disease. This complex procedure involves many steps, including evaluation and testing, patient education and support, donor matching, transplant surgery, and long-term follow-up care.

Heart transplantation is only available to patients who have gone through a comprehensive assessment process to confirm their eligibility.

How does a heart transplant work?

Prior to the transplant, we will need to locate a donor heart. Once a compatible heart is found, you will have surgery to replace your heart with the donor heart. Following your transplant, your doctor will monitor your heart muscle cells and arteries to see how your body is adapting to the new heart.

After the transplant, you'll also need to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent your body from rejecting the new heart. Your doctor will balance these medications to minimize the risk of side effects they can cause, including infection or cancer.

In some cases, the body will not adapt to the new heart. If this happens, your doctor will discuss next steps with you.

How do I know if I need a heart transplant?

A heart transplant may be necessary when your heart is no longer able to pump blood effectively throughout your body and no other treatments are able to fix the problem. A number of conditions can damage your heart to the point where other treatments are unsuccessful and a transplant offers the best chance of a cure. They include: