The wait time for a suitable donor varies for each individual and will be explained fully by the heart transplant team. The team will also describe what to expect throughout the process.
After you are placed on the wait list, it is extremely important you come to all of your appointments and take all of your medications as directed. If there are any changes in your condition while on the wait list, you will need to inform your transplant coordinator as soon as possible. We also recommend following your dietitian's suggestions regarding your diet. Participating in daily exercise is also beneficial in helping you be in the best possible condition for surgery.
Once you are placed on the wait list, you will receive a status depending on the severity of your heart failure. The time people spend on the list varies on many factors, including your blood type, weight, pre-formed antibodies and donor availability. Those with a higher status on the wait list will likely have a higher chance of receiving a donor heart. If a donor is found to be suitable for you, our team will contact you to schedule transplant surgery.
For many patients, the process of heart failure treatment will include a mechanical assist device to support their heart while they await a donor heart. A ventricular assist device (VAD) may be used to help the current heart function as it's intended while patients on the transplant wait list await a donor heart. This is called a bridge to transplantation.