The heart transplant process has a lot of moving parts: insurance approvals, doctors, tests, surgery, follow-up care, and more. At Duke, you’ll have an entire team of people behind you, helping you through the journey step by step.
Meet the Team
As soon as you are referred for transplant, you’ll be assigned one of a handful of experienced heart transplant coordinators. This individual will shepherd you through the process, serving as your main point of contact for your entire transplant team. All of our transplant coordinators are also nurses who are specially trained in heart transplant care. From start to finish, your transplant coordinator will help you navigate your appointments, help interpret test results, teach you about heart transplantation, introduce you to people who have gone through transplantation, and connect you with helpful resources. They will stay in touch with you throughout your follow-up care.
A transplant cardiologist will be your first stop in your heart transplant evaluation journey. Also experts in advanced heart failure and mechanical heart devices like ventricular assist devices (VADs), our team of transplant cardiologists will manage your care through your evaluation and while waiting for your transplant. These are the doctors you’ll see most often during follow-up visits.
Heart Transplant Surgeon
You will meet with a heart transplant surgeon before surgery, as part of your heart transplant evaluation. Your transplant surgeon will assess donor heart offers (and may even travel to harvest the donor heart), perform the transplant operation, and see you for a post-surgical visit.
Every heart transplant candidate will work one-on-one with a financial coordinator who will walk you through the financial details. We want to make sure you understand what your insurance covers and doesn’t cover, and what expenses you can expect to pay out of pocket. Your financial coordinator will help you understand your payment options, including resources that might make your tests, surgery, and medications more affordable.
Specialized heart transplant social workers help you and your family will manage heart transplantation, teach you coping skills, and connect you with resources.
If you are interested in making an appointment for an evaluation, please ask your cardiologist to submit a referral.
A mental and emotional health assessment is just as important as your physical health assessment. That’s why you’ll meet with a transplant psychologist in preparation for heart transplantation. After transplant, you’ll have access to psychologists and psychiatrists to help you adjust to your new way of life.
Before and sometimes after transplantation, you will meet with a transplant dietitian to discuss nutrition and diet. The dietitian can educate you and devise a personal weight loss plan.
The post-transplant medication regimen is extensive. A transplant pharmacist will review any current medications you’re taking, recommend changes as needed, and meet with you and your caregivers to walk you through your new medication program.
These providers are vital to keeping prescriptions up-to-date, helping with patient forms, and navigating insurance issues regarding medications.
Transplant Program Specialist
This person is responsible for locating medical records and helping schedule the heart transplant evaluation.
When it comes to your heart care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cardiology and heart surgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.