How to Prepare for a Heart Transplant Operation

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When you and your cardiologist decide that you’re a candidate for a heart transplant, it can bring about a mix of emotions.

Adding your name to the waitlist is the first step of your journey, and being as prepared as possible can help you navigate the journey with confidence. There are several things you need to do to get ready for a heart transplant operation.

Complete All Medical Tests

Once you’re on the waiting list, you need to be sure to complete all necessary medical evaluations and tests and attend all scheduled appointments. Pre-testing for heart transplant operation often includes:

  • Physical exam
  • Family medical history
  • Blood typing
  • Panel reactive antibody levels
  • Viral testing
  • Urine and kidney function tests
  • Echocardiogram

Keep Your Place On the List

It’s vital that you remain current with all of your medical tests so you can hold your place on the transplant list.
As a transplant candidate, you’ll need to have follow-up tests so that your transplant team has the most up-to-date stats on your health and heart function. If there’s been any change in your health status, medications, or test results, notify your transplant coordinator. Also be sure they have your correct contact information.

Be Reachable 24 Hours a Day

Provide your transplant coordinator with a list of phone numbers where you can be reached 24 hours a day, and also give them the names of people you frequently visit. When a heart becomes available, there’s a short window of time that your transplant team has to locate you. If they can’t reach you, that heart goes to the next person on the list.

Get Emotional Support

Anticipating a heart transplant can be stressful and emotionally draining. Enlist support from loved ones and consider speaking with the social worker or psychologist at the transplant center.