A transplant can greatly enhance the quality and length of life for people with severe heart disease.
Heart failure comes about because of conditions that strain the heart muscle, causing it to weaken. The heart isn't able to fill with or pump blood as well as it once did.
The most common causes of heart failure are:
Heart failure develops in stages from:
People who are most eligible for heart transplant tend to have between stage IIIB and stage IV heart disease.
This means that you have symptoms and limitations when doing mild activity, or even when resting, and that your doctor's exam shows signs of severe heart disease.
Our heart transplant team evaluates every candidate referred to our program. Our transplant cardiologists, surgeons, and other team members work together to decide if you would receive the most benefit from a transplant.
Factors that determine qualification for heart transplant include:
After your heart transplant surgery, you will be required to take medicines that will suppress your immune system for the rest of your life.
Health problems that can increase the risk of issues after transplant include:
Once your doctor refers you to UPMC's Heart Transplant Program, the transplant team will look carefully at your medical history and assess the risks and benefits of transplant.
We'll work with the candidate's referring doctor to get a precise picture of the overall heart condition and ability to stick to the treatment plan.
In addition to the physical exam for transplant, we will assign a credit analyst and case manager who will discuss the financial aspects of a transplant.
Receiving a heart transplant can be costly. Our team is here to make sure you can handle the burden and help you find financial assistance if you need it.
When possible, the team will urge you to continue or adjust medical treatment before your heart transplant.
If you're not a heart transplant candidate at this time, we may refer you to the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute for comprehensive care of your condition.
Contact the UPMC Heart Transplant Program today to request an appointment or to find out more information.