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Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery

Before Surgery: Are You a Good Candidate for a Heart Transplant?

Before you can have a heart transplant, a team of healthcare professionals will want you to think about what is likely to happen if you do get a new heart. This depends on your physical health, your mental health, and your ability to get the transplant medicines you will need.

Doctor taking the blood pressure of a patient.

Below are the processes that determine how long this evaluation and preparation phase can take.

Visiting a Transplant Center

This visit can be arranged by your doctor, a nurse, or a social worker. You can also make the appointment on your own. Your doctor or his staff will be asked to send your medical records to the transplant center to make sure you currently do the following:

  • take your medicine properly
  • have no medical conditions that will prevent you from receiving a transplant

More information: Finding Out if You Are Sick Enough to Need a Heart Transplant

Having Your Physical and Mental Health Evaluated

Evaluating Your Physical Health

At the transplant visit, you will have a very thorough evaluation of your medical condition by transplant team members. The transplant team may require further testing to evaluate the following:

  • your heart
  • your kidneys and gallbladder
  • your stomach, esophagus, and intestines
  • your lungs
  • your bladder
  • your teeth and gums
  • your prostate if you are a man
  • your breasts and cervix if you are a woman

There may be other tests and examinations that the transplant team may need to perform.

Evaluating Your Mental Health

You may need to see a social worker or psychologist to make sure that you do not have the following:

  • alcohol or drug addiction
  • emotional problems that may interfere with your health

More information: Evaluation Period

You Will See an Insurance Specialist

You will see an insurance specialist to evaluate your insurance to make sure you have enough coverage for medication after transplant. Once it is determined that you are a good candidate for transplantation (healthy patient), the transplant team will work with you to find the best transplant for you.

More information: Cost of Transplantation



> Next: Finding Out if You Are Sick Enough to Need a Heart Transplant


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