Once placed on the waiting list, the patient receives a detailed explanation and information pertaining to the waiting period. This information is consistent with the Jeevandan/ TRANSTAN/ ZCCK/NOTTO guidelines.
Our medical team will discuss the following information with the patient, caregiver, and the family.
- Provision of a cell phone or a pager, and an explanation of its requirement.
- The patient's responsibility to make themselves available to be contacted by the transplant unit at any time. Our transplant coordinator will provide more details about this.
- Patients are requested to inform the transplant unit of any changes in their circumstances
- if they become unwell
- if they are admitted to hospital
- any changes in medication
- travel or vacation plans
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long you will have to wait for a donor heart. The wait time is dependent on several factors including the urgency for transplantation, the size of the heart, blood type, tissue type and how long you have been on the waiting list. The time may vary from several days to months or, in some cases, years. Focus on staying healthy during the waiting period.
Each transplant center is located within a designated region, and its potential recipients are put on that region's list. Organs are offered first to the sickest patients who match blood type and size. If a match is not found within the region, organs may be offered to patients outside the region. Once a match is found between the donor organ and the patient, the surgeon will make the final decision on whether it's the best match to proceed with transplantation.
Members of the transplant team will evaluate you regularly and adjust medical treatment as necessary while you wait for the donor heart. Sometimes patients may need hospitalisation and intravenous drugs to support them during the waiting period. Sometimes, mechanical circulatory support devices are necessary. The transplant team will work with you to appropriately care for your needs.
While you are waiting for your heart transplant there are three main goals:
- Maintain your health and improve your strength. Our physiotherapy program will help you achieve this goal.
- Identify and manage any new and existing problems that may arise. We will partner with your family to manage your health. You and your caregiver will attend frequent appointments at our hospital.
- Continue to learn about life with a heart transplant through our support and education groups and by speaking to your transplant team.