Carolinas HealthCare System
Heart Care

The Transplant Evaluation and Waiting Process

Learn more about the Heart Transplant / LVAD process. [Show]

The evaluation process for a ventricular assist device and/or a heart transplant includes but is not limited to:

  • Education with a certified transplant coordinator (a teaching session with the patient and primary caregiver)
  • Physical evaluation by a cardiologist
  • Psychosocial evaluation with a Masters-prepared social worker
  • Transplant financial coordinator evaluation and counseling
  • Transplant surgeon evaluation
  • Lung test
  • Infectious disease evaluation
  • Right heart catheterization
  • ECHO
  • Chest X-ray
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Mixed venous oxygenation consumption study

Other testing may be ordered based on the patient's medical history

It is the patient's responsibility to take care of the following before an LVAD implantation or a heart transplant:

  • Mammogram within 12 months for females older than the age 40
  • Pap smear within 12 months for females older than age 18
  • PSA within 12 months for males older than age 50
  • Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy for patients older than age 50
  • Dental evaluation within 12 months

Diabetics and ischemic cardiomyopathy patients must undergo further testing before an LVAD implantation or heart transplant, including:

Once a heart transplant evaluation is completed, a transplant conference discusses the patient in which his or her acceptance as a transplant candidate is determined.

When a doctor determines a patient is an appropriate candidate for LVAD implantation or heart transplantation and final insurance approval is obtained, the patient is placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing national list. Survival statistics for transplant patients are available at http://www.ustransplant.org or http://www.unos.org/.

Wait List Maintenance for Potential Recipients

To remain on the waiting list for an LVAD or a heart transplant, patients must complete:

  • An office visit with a heart transplant specialist every three months (or as needed)
  • Lab work every three months or as needed
  • An annual mammogram and gynecologic exam
  • An annual prostate exam
  • A right heart catheterization every six months

How UNOS Determines where Hearts Go

Organ allocation guidelines are based on United Network for Organ Sharing and Organ Procurement Transplant Network policies that include medical criteria as well as the equitable utilization of organs.

Specifically, the current heart allocation policy considers characteristics of both the donor and the transplant candidate. A number of factors determine who receives the organ. These factors include blood type, length of time on waiting list, and listing status.

Heart Transplant Resources

For more information on:

Organ donation and allocation, visit United Network for Organ Sharing and Organ Procurement.

Center-specific data and statistics, visit U.S. Transplant.

The Heart Transplant Program, call 704-355-6649 or 800-562-5752.

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