Cardiac patients younger than 65 years old are candidates for a heart transplant, who are in end stage (Stage-D) of heart failure with a life expectancy less than 1 year. The older patients (65 to 72 years old) are carefully evaluated for their physical characteristics rather than their chronological age and they will be included in the program if they are appropriate.
There two common causes for a heart transplant. The first one is the coronary artery disease. Such patients are impossible to cure by a coronary bypass surgery or balloon-stent procedure. Irreversible myocardial serious or major damage may occur caused by previous attack and/or attacks associated with blocked coronary arteries.
The other one is congenital or acquired weakness related to bacteria, viruses, etc. of the heart which is called cardiomyopathy. This may require a heart transplant when the contraction power of myocardium is largely reduced.
The other rare causes include rheumatic fever, hypertension, valve diseases resulted in myocardium damage, congenital heart anomalies impossible to correct surgically, and cardiac tumors.
The patients are also candidates for a heart transplant, who have a severe arrhythmia associated with various diseases and are impossible to stop despite any medications or pacemakers.
To be included and voluntarily participate in a heart transplant program, the patients and family members should be aware and sure that
- All known treatment methods have been considered, applied, and tried for their heart disease,
- They will lose their life if they do not undergo a heart transplant,
- They will be able to have the will to adapt the changes in their life and some applications that will be necessary for a life time or for some time before but particularly after the transplant procedure.
The patients will be evaluated by specialists in the heart transplant team for the above medical, psychological, and social characteristics to be included in the program.