Many patients who have heart failure can do well by limiting their fluid and salt intake, taking medicines prescribed by their doctors, and/or having surgery and placement of pacemakers and defibrillators. Sometimes a patient's heart failure worsens despite maximal medical therapy and surgical therapy. Patients with worsening heart failure experience symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling) that increase in frequency and/or severity, and their ability to perform activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, grooming) decreases despite medications or heart surgery. After extensive discussion with their cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, patients who are good candidates for heart transplantation are registered with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in order to find a donor heart.
Team Approach for Heart Transplantation
The Center for Heart Failure within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offers the advanced surgical procedure of heart transplantation under the direction of Edwin C. McGee Jr., MD, cardiac surgeon and surgical director, Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Assistance. Dr. McGee has extensive experience in both ventricular assist devices and heart transplantation surgery.
Transferring Patients to the Center for Heart Transplantation
Many patients transfer to the Center for Heart Failure from outside institutions for heart transplantation surgery. We recognize the integral role that case managers and medical directors from outside institutions play in coordinating a safe and seamless transfer of care for their patients to the Center for Heart Failure. In addition to providing patients and families with information, this section on heart transplantation is designed to provide case managers and medical directors with the necessary resources and information to best help their patients.
For more information regarding heart transplant or to obtain a consultation, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.
For information regarding other organ transplantation opportunities at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, visit the Kovler Organ Transplantation Center.
Among the Nation's Best
In 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranked our Cardiology and Heart Surgery program 17th in the nation and the highest ranked program in the state of Illinois.