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Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery

Waiting Period

Waiting for a suitable donor to become available may take one week to a couple of years. Many patients and their families have described this time as the most difficult part of the transplant process. Denial, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty are normal reactions experienced by patients and their families. Because this can be a frustrating and difficult time, we encourage you and your family to attend the family support group sessions to help you with this process.

People playing cards to pass time.

During the waiting period, you may experience one or more hospital admissions to help control your disease. Please notify the transplant office of any change in your condition, hospitalizations, change of address and/or telephone number. Even if you do not need to be hospitalized, you should continue visiting your local doctor regularly. In addition, we ask that you visit the transplant clinic periodically so that we may monitor your condition.

Living Arrangements

After you have a transplant, you may have to remain close to the transplant clinic for a few months because of your medical care needs. Although complications can occur at any time, the first three months following transplantation are the most crucial. Patients are seen weekly in the transplant clinic for the first month after discharge. Because of this need for frequent monitoring, some patients who live more than 65 miles from USC University Hospital may have to take up temporary residence in this area. The social worker will be able to assist you in finding a place to live in the Los Angeles area. If you are accepted to the program, please discuss your housing needs with the social worker as early as possible.

 

 

> Next: During Surgery: Notification and Preparing for Surgery

 

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