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Criteria for Heart Transplant Patients

There are specific criteria for heart transplant patients to help determine who has the greatest and most urgent need for a new organ. By evaluating patients on an individual basis, Tampa General Hospital’s Heart Transplant Program can promptly place eligible candidates on the transplant waiting list. Others who may not meet the requirements can be guided to alternative therapies that are more appropriate for their specific situations. After we receive a completed referral form from a patient’s physician or cardiologist, our transplant center care team will use the information included on the form to determine if the patient would make a good candidate for a transplant. If so, our team will conduct a more in-depth evaluation of the patient. The results of this evaluation are then considered by our Medical Review Board, which will determine if a transplant is the appropriate course of action. Although patients are considered on a case-by-case basis, there are a few criteria that virtually all of our patients meet, such as having an end-stage heart disease or experiencing substantial heart failure. Most of our patients are also:

  • Projected to have a significant risk of mortality if not transplanted within a year
  • Younger than 70
  • Psychologically stable and able to understand all the risks of the transplant and commit to the subsequent rehabilitation process
  • Able to meet the financial and social support requirements necessary to ensure successful post-surgical care

Additionally, there are contraindications that may prevent a patient from receiving a heart transplant. These contraindications include:

  • Having an active infection
  • Being diagnosed with cancer
  • Experiencing impairment of other organs
  • Having reduced circulation to the brain or legs due to arterial obstruction
  • Being medically obese
  • Drinking alcohol or using tobacco products in the three months prior to transplant listing (transplant candidates may also be taken off the waiting list if they use either while awaiting a transplant)

For more information about Tampa General Hospital’s criteria for accepting heart transplant patients, call 1-800-505-7769 (press 1 for the heart transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-4088. Click here to access the referral form.