Have you ever wondered what happens during a heart transplant?

Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Transplant Program

  • The third center in the United States to perform over 1,000 heart transplants.
  • The third largest heart transplant program in the United States, the largest in Ohio.
  • Excellent survival rates following transplant with survival of 90%, 79%, and 59% at 1, 5, and 10 years.
  • Performed Ohio’s only 7 combined heart/lung transplants.

Improved outcomes are due to selection of appropriate candidates and donors; improvement in pre-transplant support, advances in immunosuppressant medications, and better protection from infection.

When medications and surgery fail to manage heart failure symptoms and progression, cardiac transplant is considered as a treatment option. A heart transplant improves length and quality of life for patients with end-stage heart failure.

Screening

Before someone is placed on the heart transplant list, they are placed through a careful screening process. A multidisciplinary team of heart doctors, nurses, social workers, and bioethicists review the medical history, diagnostic test results, social history and psychosocial evaluation results to see if the patient is able to survive the heart transplant procedure and then, comply with the continuous care needed to live a long healthy life.

Waiting

Once the person is approved to be placed on the list, they must wait for a donor to become available. This process can be long and stressful. A supportive network of family and friends is needed to help the patient through this time. The health care team will monitor the patient closely to keep the patient's heart failure in control. Your transplant coordinator will discuss with you how you will be notified if a donor heart is available. The hospital must know where to contact the patient at all times should a heart become available.

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