Questions about Heart Transplantation

What is heart transplantation?

Heart transplantation involves removing a damaged heart and replacing it with a normal heart from a human donor. Heart transplantation is a procedure of last resort. In other words, it is only done when doctors feel that there is no other treatment that will help the heart disease.

How can I get an appointment to see a heart transplant specialist?

Patients can be referred to the program by their cardiologist or primary care physician, by their insurance company or by calling to make an appointment on their own. The telephone number for the Heart Transplantation Program is (310) 423-3851. During the initial meeting, the heart transplant coordinator will ask questions about the patient and address specific concerns.

What happens after the initial contact?

An appointment is made for the patient to see the transplant cardiologist. At that time, the cardiologist will thoroughly evaluate the patient's condition through an interview and physical examination. A transplant coordinator will then schedule diagnostic tests, which will determine whether heart transplantation is the proper treatment for your disease.

What tests are necessary to determine if I am a candidate for heart transplantation?

Diagnostic tests are ordered to help the specialists understand your heart disease and other important aspects of your health. These tests include special heart-monitoring studies, X-rays, breathing tests, blood tests and skin tests. Members of the heart transplant team will explain the results of the tests to you.

How will I know if I am a good candidate for heart transplantation?

The heart transplant team (which consists of surgeons, cardiologists, nurse coordinators, social services and the financial liaison) will discuss your condition, and a team member will contact you to explain the outcome of the decision regarding the treatment plan. If heart transplantation is recommended, the transplant coordinator will place you on the waiting list and explain what to expect once a donor heart is available.

Who should I contact if I have questions about heart transplantation?

Heart transplant coordinators are available to answer any questions regarding this surgical procedure. Simply call (310) 423-3851.