Who is Eligible for a Heart Transplant?
To decide whether a heart failure patient is a good candidate for heart transplantation, physicians and other medical staff must first ask two critical questions:
1. How sick is the patient from a heart standpoint?
Doctors want to know if the patient will ultimately benefit from the surgery, or if other methods can be used to prolong his/her life. They want to know if transplantation will be a positive choice for the patient long term.
2. What are the patient’s medical conditions?
Medical staff must decide if any of the patient’s previous conditions will affect the outcome of a transplant. Do these conditions put the patient at high risk for complications? Doctors want to be confident that the patient can tolerate the surgery.
The Ideal Transplant Candidate
- Age < 70 years
- A responsible citizen who will be compliant with medications, diet and lifestyle
- Should not be a substance abuser, smoker or someone abusing alcohol
- Someone with adequate family/caregiver support
- Should not be obese (body mass index less than 30)
- No mental illness
- Must be in remission for at least five years, if a cancer patient
- No osteoporosis
- Not in end-stage diabetes
- Should not have liver disease or end-stage kidney disease
- Should not have an active infection