How long does it take to receive a heart transplant?
Discovery Health
Several years ago, Linda Flanagan had a devastating heart attack. Watch Linda's struggle to find the energy to survive while awaiting a heart transplant in this clip from Discovery Health's "Transplant with Dr. Oz".

Waiting for a suitable donor heart may take many months. This waiting time has been described by many transplant recipients and their families as the most difficult part of the entire transplant process. Fear and anxiety are normal reactions during this period of uncertainty. Transplant candidates and their families are urged to attend support groups and to avail themselves of the many support services at the Hospital. These resources are available to assist patients and their families with the multi-faceted challenges associated with the organ transplantation process, and are helpful in providing encouragement, confidence, support, and practical information.

Candidates for heart transplantation must maintain close communication and regular checkups with the transplant team. It is important to remain as healthy and strong as possible, so that when a donor organ becomes available, the patient will be in the best possible physical condition to undergo surgery. Good health not only makes it more likely that transplant surgery can proceed, but it helps patients recover better and faster after the surgery. Patients should keep the transplant team's phone numbers accessible at all times, and should contact the team if any new or significant health issues develop.

Continue Learning about Heart Transplant

Heart Transplant

Diseased hearts can be replaced during a heart transplant, a measure taken to help save a persons life after other treatments have failed.If you have end-stage heart failure, which has severely weakened or damaged your heart, you ...

most likely will need a heart transplant. However, because so few hearts are available, you must be sick enough to need a new heart but healthy enough to survive the surgery. In the U.S., only about 2,000 hearts are available each year, while there are 3,000 people waiting for a new heart. While you wait for a new heart, your doctor may insert a ventricular assist device (VAD) to help your heart continue to function. Once you have the transplant, you will need to take medications to suppress your immune system, so it doesnt attack your new heart. A team of doctors will monitor if your body accepts the new heart. The team will also look out for any infections that you may develop because of a suppressed immune system.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.