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Preparing for a Heart Transplant

As you await the call for your donor heart, it’s important to be prepared before heart transplant surgery. Banner Health is here to keep you ready and informed, from surgery throughout your recovery process and beyond.

What to Expect

Before Heart Transplant Surgery

In order to be considered for a heart transplant, your transplant team will evaluate your psychological, social and medical history, conduct a physical examination and perform various diagnostic tests. There are specific heart transplant qualifications a patient must meet before they can be added to the heart transplant waitlist.

Once you have been accepted as a candidate, you’ll be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waitlist. From there, wait times vary, and your placement on the list may also vary based on your individual needs.

Other factors that may affect your wait time include:

  • Donor heart availability
  • Height and weight
  • Your blood type
  • Geographic location

Your doctor and heart transplant team will communicate with you consistently throughout your wait to ensure you feel informed at every step of the process.

It’s important to stay within a four-hour travel time of the hospital in case a donor heart becomes available. Whether that means driving, flying or other means of transportation. If a heart becomes available, you will need to be at the hospital quickly to receive your heart transplant.

During Heart Transplant Surgery

Once a donor heart becomes available and you arrive at the hospital, you will be taken to surgery. During surgery, the diseased or failing heart will be removed and replaced with the new donor heart.

The time for heart transplant surgery varies but typically takes anywhere from 3-7 hours. Your doctor will discuss these expectations with you and your loved ones before your surgery.

After your heart transplant surgery is complete, your doctor and heart transplant team will monitor you closely. You can expect to stay in the hospital for about two to four weeks. Recovery times vary. Learn more about the recovery process after your heart transplant.

The compassionate team at Banner Health is here to provide complete and connected heart care. We’re dedicated to supporting you and your loved ones throughout your entire transplant journey.