With recent advances in surgical techniques and improved medical management of organ rejection after transplantation, an increasing number of those with end-stage cardiac disease are appropriate candidates for heart transplantation. The major limiting factor today is the short supply of donor organs.
In general, transplant candidates must be under age 65 and suffering from end-stage heart disease, but be in relatively good health otherwise. There are four basic questions that must be answered by the patient, his or her family and the evaluating physicians:
- Have all other treatment options been considered and tried or ruled out?
- Is the patient likely to die without benefit of a heart transplant?
- Is the patient in general good health without active infections nor other complicating illnesses?
- Will the patient be able and committed to assuming and maintaining the lifestyle changes that transplantation demands?
Dr. Craig Smith — Who is a candidate for a heart transplant?