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Heart Transplant

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Patient Education

Our team sees each patient as part of the UCLA family. When we begin our care, we start a lifelong relationship that also includes family members and caregivers.

Our approach to care means we carefully consider each patient as an individual. We work closely with you before, during and after heart transplant or implantation of a ventricular assist device (VAD) or artificial heart.

 

Seminars and Peer Mentoring Network

With our focus on personalized medicine, we understand how helpful it can be to learn about a condition or potential treatment from someone who has had a similar experience. We also know you want answers to your questions. We offer:

  • Heart to Heart patient peer mentoring network: Many patients who previously received a transplant, VAD or artificial heart have agreed to help others going through the process. Talk to your physicians or nurses about how to become a part of our network.
  • Monthly patient and caregiver support group meetings: Patients and their families are invited to attend these meetings, either before or after transplant, or if they receive a VAD.
  • Patient education: We offer patient education seminars where you can pose questions not only to our physicians, but also to patients who underwent a heart transplant.

    See our heart transplant FAQs.


 

UCLA and the United Network for Organ Sharing

To learn more about heart transplant waiting lists and the heart transplant match process, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) provides a toll-free patient services line to:

  • Help transplant candidates, recipients and family members understand organ allocation practices and transplantation data
  • Discuss problems you may experience with your transplant center or the transplantation system in general

The toll-free number is 888-894-6361.


 

What to Know About Heart Transplant Evaluation

A life-saving heart transplant or VAD procedure is a major undertaking, with very serious implications. Before patients are listed for a heart transplant, they undergo an evaluation. Steps include:

  • Assessment of psychological and social issues involved in organ transplantation, such as stress, financial issues and family or other support
  • Blood and diagnostic tests to assess overall health status and improve the chances of a good match
  • Immunizations and other preparations to reduce the chance of infection
  • Consideration of medical history and other information that could help determine your eligibility for a heart transplant or mechanical support for your heart

 Learn more about evaluation and the heart transplantation procedure.

 

What to Do While Waiting for Your Heart Transplant

Once patients have been accepted as transplant candidates, they are placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing list to await an available donor organ.

  • During this wait time, physicians will help you maximize your well-being.
  • Donor organs are assigned to heart recipients based on several characteristics, including blood type and the severity of their condition.
  • It is important to remain available at the contact information you have provided so that you can be notified immediately when a heart is available.
  • Your physicians will advise you on how to prepare for the transplant.

 

What to Expect Post-Transplant

After your heart transplant, you will most likely need to stay in the Los Angeles area temporarily - usually three months. Many patients go to cardiac rehabilitation after transplant, though for some this is not necessary.

Your nursing and support team will help you identify local housing. Learn more lodging and nearby services, including the UCLA Tiverton House.

Learn more about the period after the heart transplantation procedure.

 

Ongoing Connection to UCLA's Heart Transplant Program

Patients often receive follow-up care and monitoring from our physicians for years to come. Long after your procedure is completed, you will remain a member of the UCLA family.

For our pediatric patients, our specialized transition to adult care program helps ensure a seamless crossover.

We host events for patients every year, as well as an annual holiday party to thank you for being part of our transplant family. Physicians, clinicians, patients and family members attend this joyous event to reconnect and celebrate.

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