Who Is a Heart Transplant Candidate?
You may be a candidate for a heart transplant if your physician has diagnosed you with end-stage heart failure. This means your heart muscle is very weak or can no longer successfully pump blood through the body, and no treatments are working.
Causes of heart failure include:
- Heart attack
- Viral infection
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart valve disease
- Congenital (present at birth) heart defects
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
- Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)
- Alcoholism or drug abuse
- Chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart muscle)
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
The Heart Transplant Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital evaluates each patient to see if he or she may benefit from receiving a heart transplant. Those who may benefit from heart transplantation must:
- Be physically able to undergo heart surgery
- Possess the likelihood to recover well afterwards
- Be able to assume responsibility for self-care
- Be willing to maintain a healthy lifestyle after heart transplantation
Northwestern Memorial Hospital was the first program in Illinois to use the TransMedics Organ Care System (OCS™) for heart transplantation. This innovative system increases the number of available hearts for transplant by up to 30 percent in the United States.
Heart transplantation may contribute to a longer, healthier life. A successful heart transplantation requires dedication, attention to detail and a team effort that involves the patient, the patient's family and friends and health care providers.