Most patients referred to heart transplant centers have end-stage heart failure. Their heart failure might have been caused by:
Most patients considered for heart transplants have tried other, less drastic treatments. They also have been hospitalized many times for heart failure.
The specialists at the heart transplant center will assess whether a patient is eligible for a transplant. Specialists often include a:
In general, patients selected for heart transplants have severe end-stage heart failure, but are healthy enough to have the transplant. Heart failure is considered “end stage” when all possible treatments—such as medicines, implanted devices, and surgery—have failed.
Certain conditions and factors make it less likely that a heart transplant will work well. Examples include:
Patients who have one or more of the above conditions might not be eligible for heart transplant surgery.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.