Advertisement

What is a heart transplant?

Patients with end-stage heart failure who do not respond to medical treatment may be candidates for heart transplants. In heart transplant surgery, a patient's diseased heart is removed and replaced with a healthy, donated human heart.

Every year, heart transplant surgery remains limited to the most severe cases. This is due, in part, to a shortage of donor hearts, which must pass through a stringent screening process.

Andrew J. Boyle, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A heart transplant trades a functioning heart from someone who is brain dead for another from someone with heart failure. Assuming the patient only had heart problems, he or she then would be normal after the transplant.
Kismet Rasmusson, FNP
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Cardiac transplantation is one of the most successful treatments for end-stage heart failure. When heart failure worsens to the point that the prognosis is poor despite the use of medications and pacemaker-type devices, heart transplant may be the best option. Careful screening by the transplant program will determine which patients are suitable candidates. To be listed with the national organization, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), patient have to be formally approved by the transplant program. The surgery occurs when a donor heart becomes available with an appropriate blood type, size, and antibody match with the recipient. The transplant surgery is done by cardio-thoracic surgeons, with long-term care managed by heart transplant cardiologists and their multidisciplinary team. See more about heart transplant surgery at http://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/heart/treatments/Pages/HeartTransplantSurgery.aspx.

A heart transplant is a surgical procedure performed to remove the diseased heart from a patient and replace it with a healthy one from an organ donor. In order to remove the heart from the donor, two or more physicians must declare the donor brain-dead.

Continue Learning about Heart Transplant

Where is the best heart transplant unit in the US?
Joane GoodroeJoane Goodroe
There are many excellent heart transplant centers around the country. A challenge for every program ...
More Answers
What stops my immune system from rejecting my new heart?
Columbia University Department of SurgeryColumbia University Department of Surgery
After your heart transplant, you will be taking immunosuppressant, or anti-rejection, medications fo...
More Answers
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Heart Transplant?
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Heart Transplant?
What Is the State of Heart Transplants?
What Is the State of Heart Transplants?

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.