- Transplant Center
- Bone Marrow
How are heart transplant recipients identified?
Vanderbilt’s heart transplant team works closely with the referring physician immediately upon a patient’s initial referral. At the beginning of the process, the transplant nurse coordinator provides the appropriate phone numbers and beeper numbers of the transplant physicians and nurses. “Prospective patients” are encouraged to contact any of the team members 24-hours a day for consultation regarding the transplant process.
The evaluation for a heart transplant is accomplished through the coordinated interaction among the referring physician and transplant cardiologists, surgeons, social workers, and transplant nurse coordinators. The evaluation may be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending upon the severity of the patient’s illness and the scope of diagnostic procedures required. Consultations from other medical specialties are obtained when clinically indicated to ensure accurate and thorough assessment.
The evaluation involves assessment of the patient’s medical condition, psychological and emotional understanding of the transplantation process, anticipated long-term adherence to medical regimen, and potential for rehabilitation. The patient’s family is involved early in these discussions.
When a patient is accepted as a candidate for transplantation, the nurse coordinator provides a beeper which enables the patient to be contacted immediately when a donor heart becomes available. Depending upon their medical status, the patient either remains under Vanderbilt care or returns home to appropriate local care.