Heart Transplantation

Cardiac transplantation is a procedure reserved for end-stage cardiac disease in which the life expectancy of the patient is markedly reduced and there are no other treatment opportunities. Sutter Memorial Hospital has been performing cardiac transplantation for more than 10 years with some of the best results in the nation. Patients are referred to Sutter Medical Transplant Clinic from cardiologists around the state and undergo a work-up process prior to being placed on the waiting list for an appropriate donor. Once a donor has been identified, the patient is brought to the hospital and the cardiac transplantation procedure is performed in approximately two to four hours. Patients are placed in the Intensive Care Unit postoperatively for approximately one to three days before being placed on a routine postoperative cardiac floor. They remain in the hospital approximately one to two weeks before being discharged under close observation.

After the transplant, patients are followed closely by the physicians and nurses at the Cardiac Transplant Clinic. A 24-hour service is offered to these patients should they have any questions or complications. They are maintained on various immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the risk of rejection (a process which can harm the new heart muscle).