Heart Donation

4,000 people in the United States are waiting for a new heart.

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A heart transplant is a surgical procedure in which a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthier donor heart.

Heart transplants are performed when other treatments for heart problems have not worked, leading to heart failure.

In adults, causes of heart failure may include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • A weakening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
  • Valvular heart disease
  • A heart problem present at birth (congenital heart defect)
  • Failure of a previous heart transplant

In children, causes of heart failure may include:

  • Congenital heart defect
  • Cardiomyopathy

Many patients are on their feet within a couple of days and released from the hospital in 10 to 14 days.

A donor heart can only come from an individual who is declared brain dead and on a ventilator.

Donated hearts are allocated to patients based on medical urgency, size match, blood group compatibility and time on the waiting list.

Transplant recipients may take a number of medications after transplant, many for the rest of their lives. The medications help reduce the risk of complications after transplant.

For more information about organ allocation, visit the UNOS website

References: TransplantLiving.org, UNOS.org, OPTN.transplant.HRSA.gov and MayoCinic.org

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Over half of the people you will see today are registered organ donors – are you?

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95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor but only 54% are registered.
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