Heart Transplant Evaluation and Treatment of Heart Patients

Evaluation & Treatment


Step 1: Evaluation


A heart transplant evaluation is extensive. It requires many tests and examinations to determine your need and it is different for each patient. But we will be there with you every step of the way, informing you of your test results and the next steps. You will meet with your entire medical team, which includes your transplant cardiologist, your surgeon, your nurse coordinator, nurse practitioners, procurement nurses, physical therapists, social workers, psychologists, clinical pharmacists, dietitians, financial coordinators and transplant chaplains. They will educate you on the various steps in the transplant process.  If we find you are too ill for transplant, we may suggest you consider a heart pump as an alternative therapy. The Joint Commission has certified our LVAD program, allowing us to employ heart pump implants as a solution to acute heart disease.



What you can do





Step 2: While You Wait


Waiting for a transplant can be a stressful time because you don’t know how long you will have to wait. Nonetheless, there are important steps you can take to ensure you are ready for surgery. You will continue to be under the care of your general cardiologist and your heart transplant cardiologist.  You should take care of your health, following your exercise plan and dietary guidelines. You should also keep your scheduled appointments so your medical team can gauge your state of health and assess any changes. Many transplant candidates find it beneficial to take part in support groups. It is extremely important during this time that you keep your medical team informed of any changes in your address, insurance, phone numbers or vacation plans. Your transplant team must be able to reach you within a moment’s notice, so they must always have current contact numbers for you.



What you can do





Step 3: Operation


Then the good news arrives! A heart has been offered. Your medical team will make the arrangements for the surgery and your hospital stay. The procurement nurse will inform you and your family where to go and when to arrive. You will undergo a few final tests and then go into surgery, which usually lasts about 4 to 6 hours, but this varies from patient to patient.



What you can do





  • Follow all instructions from your nurses and doctors.

  • Communicate any concerns you have with your medical team. Call (708) 327-2738.

  • Learn more about the transplant process in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Step 4: Recovery


Your doctors and nurses will monitor you very closely after surgery. Physical therapists will work closely with you to get you up and walking around. You will also need to do some deep breathing exercises and coughing to help prevent complications. Your length of stay in the hospital will depend on how fast you recover. Most patients stay in the hospital about 15 days. Our medical staff will send you home with anti-rejection medication.


It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you take your anti-rejection medication for the rest of your life. You will be followed quite closely during the first year after your transplant, which will include frequent lab and doctors’ visits along with occasional biopsies, if needed, to help identify any possible rejection.



What you can do





  • Take your anti-rejection medication on a routine schedule.

  • Keep lab and doctors’ appointments.

  • Follow your medical team’s guidelines on diet and exercise.

  • Learn more about the transplant process in our Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Questions?

For an appointment or for more information about Heart Transplantation, call (708) 327-2738.

The Evaluation

Transplant Coordinator Mary Phillip and Dr. Erin Coglianese, a transplant cardiologist, talk about the evaluation process.

While You Wait

Dr. Erin Coglianese and Transplant Coordinator Mary Phillip and discuss the steps needed before transplant surgery.

Time for Surgery

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, a Heart Transplant surgeon, and Transplant Coordinator Mary Phillip explain what you can expect just before and during surgery.

The Recovery

Transplant Coordinator Mary Phillip and Dr. Erin Coglianese describe what recovery from transplant surgery will entail.

Common Questions

Who pays for the operation?

Insurance, whether private, Medicare or Medicaid, will pay for your evaluation and surgery. Please contact your insurance for specific levels of coverage. Read more in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Ready to Get Started?

For an appointment or for more information about Heart Transplantation, call (708) 327-2738.

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