Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery
About Heart Transplantation
What is transplantation?
Transplantation is the surgical placement of a human organ from a patient who has been declared clinically brain dead (cadaveric donor). When an organ from a cadaveric donor is available, an organ procurement organization is notified. After determining the suitability of the donor, the donor's family is approached regarding the option of organ donation. If the donor's family agrees to donate, blood work is obtained to rule out any possible infections.
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is contacted and a list of potential recipients is generated. This list is determined by various factors, such as blood type, size, time waiting, and in some circumstances, severity of disease. The recipient transplant programs are contacted to offer the organ for the first recipient on the UNOS waiting list. Many times organs that are offered are not suitable and will be denied. The goal of transplantation is to provide you with an organ that will allow you the best opportunity for a better quality of life.
What is cardiac transplantation?
Cardiac transplantation is a procedure of last resort. This means that there are no other medical or surgical options that will improve your current heart condition. Heart transplantation involves the placement of a healthy heart from a cadaveric donor into the recipient with end-stage heart disease.
What is heart-lung transplantation?
Heart-lung transplantation is the surgical placement of a set of heart & lungs from a cadaveric donor into the recipient whose own heart and lungs are badly damaged from a disease process. Like heart transplantation, heart-lung transplantation is a procedure for patients for whom there are no other medical or surgical options.
> Next: About Your Heart