Heart transplantation is a lifesaving treatment option for patients facing end-stage congestive heart failure. Organ transplant is used for patients with severe congestive heart failure who have exhausted all other medical therapy, device treatment, or surgical intervention options.
Mount Sinai is one of only three heart transplant centers in New York City. Our cardiothoracic surgeons successfully perform approximately two-dozen heart transplants each year at Mount Sinai.
Who is a Heart Transplant Candidate?
The heart transplant process for a patient starts with a comprehensive examination and evaluation by the Mount Sinai transplant team to be considered a candidate. Our transplant team includes cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, transplant coordinators, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists, pulmonary specialists, nephrologists, and other medical experts.
After evaluation the patient's case is presented to Mount Sinai's Recipient Review Committee for a comprehensive review to determine their suitability for a heart transplant. If the Recipient Review Committee deems a patient a suitable candidate, he or she is placed on a waiting list for a heart transplant. The United Network for Organ Sharing manages this transplant list. It an independent organization that oversees transplants nationwide.
In addition, Mount Sinai offers an alternate listing program that matches patients with an expanded donor pool. This listing program extends transplantation options to older patients who are otherwise healthy and who previously may have been excluded from the standard national organ matching process.
What to Expect?
Heart failure patients who receive a donor heart undergo open-heart surgery with our experienced Mount Sinai cardiothoracic surgeons. After surgery patients remain in the hospital for at least a week and are required to take daily anti-rejection medications for their lifetime to make sure their body does not reject their new donor organ.
It is vital that transplant patients identify a family member or care partner before transplant to aid in the success of their transplant process. It is also critical that patients optimize their medical therapy and lifestyle modifications before and after surgery to ensure they have a successful transplant experience.
Post-transplant care involves close follow-up and monitoring by the Mount Sinai Heart transplant team. Also, a dedicated phone line connects patients anytime to the transplant team.
Importance of Organ Donation
For healthy people, the importance of becoming a future organ donor cannot be stressed enough. There is a continuous shortage of donor organs, especially for heart transplants. There are close to 300 patients in the New York metropolitan area awaiting heart transplant.