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Patient brochure

Find information for patients and families to understand and navigate organ donation and transplantation below:

Questions and answers for transplant candidates about:

The heart

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to all parts of the body except the lungs. The pulmonary artery is one of the two arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. The vena cava is either of two large veins that return blood to the right atrium of the heart. The left atrium is the upper left chamber of the heart that receives blood from the pulmonary veins. The right atrium is the upper right chamber of the heart that receives blood from another part of the body and pumps it into a ventricle. The septum is the muscle wall that divides the heart into chambers. The left ventricle is the largest and most muscular chamber of the heart that pumps oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. The right ventricle is the chamber on the right side of the heart that receives blood from the right atrium and pumps it to the arteries.

Functions of the heart

The heart is a strong and muscular, cone-shaped organ that is about the size of a fist. It pumps blood throughout the body and is located behind the breastbone between the lungs. Deoxygenated blood flows from the heart to the lungs where it gives up wastes and is freshly oxygenated. From there, the blood returns to the heart and is pumped to the rest of the body. Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to maintain normal body requirements. Birth defects or any condition that damages or overloads the heart muscle can cause it. Treatment depends on the cause of heart failure and the age and condition of the patient.

Heart transplant procedures

Most heart transplants involve replacing the patient's heart with the heart from a cadaveric donor. In certain situations, the patient's native heart is not removed; this is known as a heterotopic transplant. There have also been a few transplants in the U.S. involving a living heart donor. This may occur if one patient receives a heart-lung combination transplant but their heart is in good condition. This patient's heart may then be subsequently transplanted into another recipient. This is known as a "domino" heart transplant.

Reasons for heart transplant

Heart diagnosis categories Heart diagnoses
Dilated Myopathy: Idiopathic
Dilated Myopathy: Myocarditis
Dilated Myopathy: Other Specify
Dilated Myopathy: Post Partum
Dilated Myopathy: Familial
Dilated Myopathy: Adriamycin
Dilated Myopathy: Viral
Dilated Myopathy: Alcoholic
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Restrictive Myopathy: Idiopathic
Restrictive Myopathy: Amyloidosis
Restrictive Myopathy:Sarcoidosis
Restrictive Myopathy: Endocardial Fibrosis
Restrictive Myopathy: Other Specify
Restrictive Myopathy: Sec To Radiat/Chem
Coronary Artery Disease
Dilated Myopathy: Ischemic
Congenital Heart Disease
Valvular Heart Disease
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Coronary Artery Disease
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Other Specify
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Non-Specific
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Acute Rejection
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Hyperacute Rejection
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Primary Failure
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Chronic Rejection
Heart Re-Tx/GF: Restrictive/Constrictive
Cardiac Disease: Other Specify
Heart: Other Specify