Your child’s heart transplant evaluation will include:
- Clinic visits with the transplant team
- A review of your child’s medical records and history
- A physical exam
- Blood work and diagnostic tests
You will learn about:
- Benefits and risks of transplant
- Medicines that suppress the immune system
- Health insurance coverage
- Organ donation
- What to expect while waiting for an organ
- What to expect during surgery
- The long-term outlook after heart transplant
The transplant evaluation may be done in clinic, or, in some cases, it is done while your child is staying in the hospital. The entire evaluation process may take weeks to complete, depending on the medical urgency of your child’s case.
Once all of your child’s information and test results are ready, the entire transplant team will meet to discuss your child’s case. This is referred to as the selection committee. Once a decision is made, a member of the team will communicate the recommendation to you by phone or at your child’s next scheduled clinic visit.
Our recommendation could include any of the following:
- Your child is ready to be listed for transplant now.
- Transplant is not an option for your child.
- Your child may be a candidate for transplant in the future; however, your child is not clinically ready for transplant at this time.
If your family and the transplant team agree that a heart transplant is the right decision, your child will be placed on the national waiting list for a heart.
Who will you meet during the evaluation?
During the evaluation you will meet many transplant specialists, such as:
- Transplant cardiologist
- Transplant coordinator
- Cardiac surgeon
- Social worker
- Infectious disease specialist
There may be additional specialists depending on your child’s specific needs.
What tests are needed?
Many tests are needed for the transplant evaluation. These tests help us to:
- Decide how urgently your child needs a transplant.
- Make sure that your child gets a donor organ that is a good match.
- Decide if there are any special precautions that we need to take around the time of transplant.
- Check for any additional risks that need to be considered.
Types of testing include:
- Blood tests
- Cardiac catheterization
- Diagnostic tests such as echocardiogram , electrocardiogram and X-ray
- Dental assessment
Each child is considered on an individual basis. Your transplant team may request other consultations, tests or diagnostic studies to help us understand your child as completely as possible.
Learn more about pediatric heart transplants in this guide for patients and families (PDF).