Heart Transplant

Heart Transplantation

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-5505

The UT Southwestern Heart Transplant Program provides patients with full access to UT Southwestern Medical Center’s multidisciplinary medical resources and highly personalized care.

Cardiothoracic surgeons, advanced heart failure cardiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, transplant coordinators, social workers, rehabilitation therapists, nutritionists, and pharmacists work together to deliver comprehensive treatment.

The goal of heart transplantation is to both prolong and improve quality of life. After a thorough evaluation, if we believe that a heart transplant is the best treatment option – and the patient wishes to pursue this option – his or her name is added to the national United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list.

Wait status is dictated by how sick the patient is and the availability of suitable donor hearts. The wait time for heart transplantation depends on a number of variables including urgency, blood type, size, and immunologic compatibility with potential donors. Wait times can range from days to months.

About the Transplant Process

We’ll contact the patient when a suitable donor heart is ready, and he or she must arrive within three hours at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, where preparatory tests and procedures are done. Most patients are in the operating room within a few hours.

Patients will be under general anesthesia and connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, which takes over the work of the heart and lungs, while the surgical team performs the transplant. The damaged heart will be removed when the healthy donor heart arrives in the operating room.

Once the donor heart has been transplanted, the patient will be disconnected from the heart-lung machine, allowing blood to flow through the transplanted heart and throughout the body.

Heart transplant surgery typically takes four to six hours. Patients can often be discharged within two weeks of surgery.

After the Transplant

Our transplant team provides patients with extended medical management, care, and support following transplant. Post-transplant patients complete a program of supervised cardiac rehabilitation. They also receive education on their new medical regimens and assistance with the adjustments that post-transplant life requires.

Patients who receive transplanted hearts must take immunosuppressive medications for the rest of their lives, exercise regularly, eat a heart-healthy diet, forego smoking and alcohol, and see their transplant team regularly.

Most patients are able to return to a normal, active life within three to six months after their heart transplant surgery.

New Heart Helped Dana Return to the Stage

More than 5.7 million Americans are living with heart failure. Today’s advanced treatments, like the heart transplant that Dana received, offer real hope.

Transplant Support Group

The Transplant Support Group meets virtually on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from noon-1 p.m. for transplant patients and their families to share experiences. This group (led by a social worker) provides an emotionally supportive atmosphere in which attendees can assist each other in coping with the various issues that arise before and after transplantation. It also provides information on topics of special interest to transplant patients and their families. For example, the dietitian may conduct a group discussion on nutritional information.

For more information about the Transplant Support Group, contact Stacy Franz at 214-645-5505.