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The Heart Transplant Program at Medical City Dallas Hospital began in 1991 after receiving certification from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The leadership has more than 25 years of heart failure and transplant experience and the entire team provides an interdisciplinary approach, with individual clinical programs designed to meet each patient’s needs. It is the passion of our highly qualified team and world-renowned surgeons that make us a leader in the field of heart transplantation.
There are a number of treatments for advanced heart failure including medication, lifestyle changes and surgical procedures. To read more about Ventricular Assist Devices, which are pumps that can be surgically implanted to help your heart circulate blood, click here. To achieve the best results, our specialists will tailor a treatment program based on the patient’s needs. Since the program’s inception, our specialists have performed over 465 heart transplants. Our clinical outcomes are consistently among the top performing transplant centers in the country.
How does someone qualify for a heart transplant?
A heart transplant may be your best treatment option after your team of specialists has exhausted all medication and assist therapies. Patients who need a heart transplant may have one of the below conditions.
- Ischemic cardiomyopathy
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Congenital heart disease
- Post-partum cardiomyopathy
- Valvular heart disease
Who pays for the heart transplant surgery?
Most private insurers and Medicare cover heart transplants. A transplant financial coordinator will verify insurance benefits prior to your initial visit.
What can I expect during the evaluation process?
During the initial visit the patient will meet with the several team members.
- Transplant Surgeon
- Pre-Transplant nurse coordinator
- Social Worker
- Financial Coordinator
You can expect to undergo an extensive series of tests and evaluations to determine the appropriate treatment option. You will typically undergo the following medical tests:
- Blood work to evaluate kidney, liver and thyroid functions, blood type, antibody testing.
- Cardiac evaluation with an echocardiogram, functional stress test and right heart catheterization.
- Pulmonary evaluation with chest x ray, CT scan of the chest and possibly breathing tests
- Abdominal sonogram and CT scan of the head
- Peripheral vascular assessment for some patients
- Routine cancer screenings
- Bone density screening
- Psychological evaluation
How long will I wait for a heart transplant?
Once you have completed the evaluation process and are deemed an eligible transplant candidate, you will be placed on the national waiting list. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains the national list and is directly linked with the local Organ Procurement Agency and transplant center when placing the organ. Wait times vary for each patient and are based on a system that takes into account the candidates’ medical urgency, blood type, body size and length of time on the waiting list.
How long will I be in the hospital following my heart transplant?
You can expect to be hospitalized for 7 to 10 days without complications. The post transplant nurse coordinator will begin medication teaching and transplant education. During the education process a pre-identified family member or friend is required to be educated along with you.
What type of support system will I need following my heart transplant?
It is extremely important to pre identify a family member or friend that will be available as your support system. Once you are discharged from the hospital you will not be able to drive for 3 months and are required to attend multiple appointments. The first clinic visit will take place one week post discharge. You will also need transportation to cardiac rehabilitation 3 times a week for the first 3 months.
The Living Gift Support Group is held several times a year at Medical City and is a great place to meet other transplant patients and learn about community resources.
For more information, please contact 972-566-7199 or Toll Free: 1-800-348-4318.
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