Before Your Heart Transplant
Our first step is to determine whether transplantation is the best therapy for you. The evaluation process may take several days, depending on the severity of your heart disease, how your heart is functioning, and what tests or screenings you’ll need. A transplant coordinator will help you plan your visit to Duke. Testing may include:
- Blood and tissue tests to check blood type and compatibility; assess kidney, liver, and immune system function; and screen for viruses or infections that could affect your outcome
- Left heart catheterization, which provides information about the arteries supplying blood to your heart
- Right heart catheterization, which provides information about your overall heart and lung function
- Echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound to bounce sound waves off your heart to evaluate heart function and the condition of your heart valves
- Carotid ultrasound to assess blood flow to your head and brain
- Pulmonary function tests to assess your lung capacity and function
- Assessment by our team of specialists including social workers, clinical psychologists, financial counselors, and nutritionists
Heart Transplant Wait List
If you are considered a heart transplant candidate, you will be listed in the national database maintained and administered by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
Preparing for Your Heart Transplant
All heart transplant candidates will participate in transplant education led by our transplant coordinators. We'll teach you and your caregivers about the transplant process, the medications you will need to take, and the recovery process.
Your Caregivers Are Our Partners
We involve your designated caregivers -- family members or friends -- from the time of your first evaluation through recovery. They attend your appointments at Duke University Hospital, and we educate them about their important role in caring for you after surgery. They are our partners in restoring your health as quickly as possible.