Pre-Transplant Evaluation

This evaluation process will determine whether your child needs a heart transplant. During the evaluation, the team will help you and your family to learn more about transplant.

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
  • What to expect after surgery

The pre-transplant evaluation is usually done on an outpatient basis; however, it may occur while your child is in the hospital.

It may take several days or weeks to complete the entire process, depending on the medical urgency of your child's case.

What happens during the pre-transplant evaluation?

The evaluation begins with a review of your child's medical and surgical history. You will then have an office visit with the transplant team, including the pediatric cardiologist, transplant nurse coordinator and transplant social worker.

The team will explain the organ donation listing process, the waiting time for an organ, the surgery, follow-up care and what to expect of life after transplant. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have.

Your child's social worker will help your family and child understand the emotional and practical aspects of transplant and help you address your social and emotional needs.

Your transplant nurse coordinator will schedule your child's clinic appointments and help you understand the details of your insurance coverage that relate to transplant. If needed, your transplant nurse coordinator and our social worker will work together with you to identify sources of additional funding.

The transplant nurse coordinator will help explain the medications your child will need after transplant.

What tests are needed?

Many tests are needed for the pre-transplant evaluation. These tests help us to:

  • Decide how urgently your child needs a transplant
  • Ensure that your child receives a donor organ that is a good match

Types of testing and interviews include:

  • Blood and lab tests
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Social work evaluation
  • Dental assessment
  • Financial assessment

The transplant team will determine if your child needs any additional tests.

Please note that each child is considered on an individual basis and that we may request other consultations with you to understand your child as completely as possible.