Many patients with heart failure feel some symptom relief by limiting their fluid and salt intake, taking medicines prescribed by their doctors, and/or having surgery and placement of pacemakers and defibrillators.
But sometimes, a patient's heart failure worsens despite medical therapy and surgical therapy. Patients with worsening heart failure experience symptoms (like difficulty breathing, fatigue or swelling) that may increase in frequency or severity. Their ability to perform normal daily activities like eating, bathing and grooming decreases despite medications or heart surgery.
After extensive discussion with their cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, patients who are good candidates for heart transplantation are registered with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)* in order to find a donor heart.
Heart transplantation at Northwestern Medicine is performed by highly skilled cardiac surgeons with extensive experience in this specialty. Cardiac surgeons work as a team with cardiologists, nurses and other staff who coordinate in-hospital care and outpatient management. We have a dedicated heart transplant clinic that coordinates outpatient heart transplant management.
Transferring patients to the Center for Heart Transplantation
Collaboration with referring physicians and their staffs is an essential part of our approach to treating heart transplant patients. We recognize the integral role that referring physicians from outside institutions play in coordinating a safe and seamless transfer of care for their patients to Northwestern Memorial’s Center for Heart Failure.