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UR Medicine



Our Philosophy of Care

At the University of Rochester Medical Center, we believe a heart transplant is a lifelong commitment for you and for us. We will stay involved with you and your family through the entire transplant process. We get to know you very well and recognize that preparing for and living with a transplant will affect your lifestyle in many ways. We will help you maintain and resume many of your activities and even become involved in new ones.

We are committed to the time, effort, and resources required to make your transplant a success. Our definition of success extends far beyond the operating room. We will work with you to make your life after the transplant as successful as possible.

What is a Heart Transplant?

Waiting for a donor heart to become available can take many months or even years. 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. 

  • First, you’re put under general anesthesia and a heart lung machine takes over supplying blood to your body.
  • Next, your heart is removed and the donor heart is sewn in place. 
  • Donor hearts often start beating on their own. However, in the event that it does not, your surgeon will stimulate it with an electric shock.
  • Most patients remain in the hospital for seven to fourteen days after a heart transplant. 
  • The recovery period at home takes several months, and requires the support of family and friends. 
  • There are certain medications you will have to take for the rest of your life to prevent your body from rejecting your new heart.
  • Many patients with heart transplants have lived 10 years or more with their new hearts.

Why Do I Need a Heart Transplant?

If you have end-stage heart failure and other treatments are not working, you may need a heart transplant. End-stage heart failure is a disease in which the heart muscle is failing to pump blood through the body.

We know that you have been through a lot, and if a heart transplant is the next step for you, we are here to take you through this journey. Your heart failure team will evaluate you to make sure that a heart transplant is the best treatment for you.