Heart failure is a condition in which your heart can no longer provide enough blood to keep up with your body’s needs. It can be caused by several different problems, including coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, heart attack or congenital heart problems. In many cases, heart failure can be treated effectively with medications. But, when medications don’t help and symptoms become severe, a heart transplant may need to be considered.
A heart transplant can restore the health and energy you had prior to heart failure. There are many important risks to consider though, and patients requiring a heart transplant may encounter long waits for a donor heart. First, your cardiologist must determine if this surgery is appropriate for you. For instance, you might not be considered a good candidate if you have other serious medical conditions, or if you’re older than 65.
Waiting for a donor heart to become available can take many months. During this time, your doctors and nurses work with you to help you manage your heart failure. When a donor heart becomes available, you’re notified immediately. The heart transplant must be performed right away, while the donor heart is still healthy. Heart transplant surgery takes four hours or longer.
There are two kinds of risks associated with heart surgery: the risks of the surgery itself, and the risks of living with a new heart.
UR Medicine Heart & Vascular is the largest and most successful ongoing heart transplant program in upstate New York. We’ve performed more than 250 heart transplants for heart failure patients from throughout the state and northern Pennsylvania since we began our program in 2001. Our outcomes are among the best when compared to other heart transplant centers in the nation. And, as a highly experienced program in a smaller metropolitan area, we’re able to give patients personal attention to help them through the challenging process of receiving a heart transplant.
We also have one of the most experienced teams in the country when it comes to implanting ventricular assist devices (VADs), which can help your own heart keep beating while you wait for a donor heart to become available.