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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

Functions of the heart

The heart is a strong, muscular, cone-shaped organ. It is located behind the breastbone between the lungs. It pumps blood throughout the body.

Blood that no longer carries oxygen flows from the heart to the lungs, where it gives up wastes and gets new oxygen. From there, the blood returns to the heart and is pumped to the rest of the body.

Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. 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 deceased donor. In rare cases, the patient's native heart is not removed; this is known as a heterotopic transplant.

There also have been a few transplants 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 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: Secondary to Radiation/Chemotherapy
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease
Dilated Myopathy: Ischemic
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital Heart Disease
Valvular Heart Disease
Valvular Heart Disease
Retransplant/Graft Failure
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Coronary Artery Disease
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Other Specify
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Non-Specific
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Acute Rejection
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Hyperacute Rejection
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Primary Failure
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Chronic Rejection
Heart Retransplant/Graft Failure: Restrictive/Constrictive
Cardiac Disease: Other Specify
Heart: Other Specify