Heart Transplant Process

Your Heart Transplant Evaluation

Candidates for heart transplant require a comprehensive evaluation. The process includes patient education, medical records review, patient examination and often additional medical testing. Our multidisciplinary transplant team then reviews the case and makes a decision about the patient's suitability for a donor heart.

Meeting with the Transplant Team and Testing

At the follow-up evaluation, the patient meets with several members of the transplant team, including a transplant coordinator, cardiologists, transplant surgeon, social worker and a nurse educator. The evaluation appointment involves a variety of tests, such as blood tests and a chest x-ray. Each patient must attend the patient education class on transplantation.

Placement on the Heart Transplant Waiting List

Patients who are eligible for a heart transplant are placed on a waiting list for a donor heart. This waiting list is part of a national allocation system for donor organs run by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

Heart Transplant Surgery

For the transplant surgery, a bypass machine is hooked up to the arteries and veins of the heart. The machine pumps blood through the patient's lungs and body while the diseased heart is removed and the donor heart is sewn into place.

After Your Heart Transplant

Our Heart Failure Transplant Team will care for you during your inpatient stay, which usually lasts 10 days to two weeks after transplant. Once you are discharged, our Post-Transplant Coordinators will take care of all your post-transplant management, including scheduling follow-up biopsies and blood work and any other needs you might have. We also follow heart transplant patients who have relocated to Michigan, managing all their post-transplant care. Currently we follow more than 300 patients.

Heart Transplant and LVAD Support Group

Additionally, we offer an Adult Heart Transplant and LVAD Support Group, which meets the first Friday of each month in Room UH2G321 from 10 am - noon. The group is open to pre- and post-heart transplant patients and their families, as well as those who have Left Ventricular Assist Devices or who are considering getting a heart-assisted device. Social and emotional support – as well as educational information – are provided. Visit our Heart Transplant and LVAD Support Group page for more information.

Get Evaluated

To make an appointment to evaluate your need within our Transplant Center, call a patient care representative at 1-800-333-9013.