Heart Transplant Clinic

The Heart Transplant Clinic cares for patients before and after they have had a heart transplant. 

The clinic also takes patient referrals for transplant assessment from other health care professionals. During this review, patients are assessed to determine if they need a transplant and to make sure there are no contraindications for a heart transplant. 

If you have been referred to the clinic for a heart transplant assessment, this does not mean you are on the transplant waitlist. You must first undergo numerous tests. The results are then reviewed to determine if you are a candidate for a transplant.

What to Expect

For a workup referral:

If you have been referred for transplant workup, any tests that you require must be booked prior to your appointment. These tests are determined by the doctor. 
A letter will be sent to you by the transplant office describing the required tests and the dates of those tests. 

Some examples of tests that you may be booked for include:

If an inpatient admission is required for completion of the testing, this will be reviewed with you either prior to or during your visit. 

For patients on the heart transplant waitlist:

As a patient on the waitlist you may be seen by your cardiologist every month up to every three months. The frequency of your visits will depend on your condition.
You will have regular tests while you wait for a heart to ensure your condition has not changed. These include the following: 

  • Echocardiogram
  • Right heart catheterization
  • Blood work

Additional tests may be requested depending on your condition.

For post-transplant patients:

Post-transplant, you will be required to have weekly blood work done for approximately four weeks after being discharged from the hospital. This blood work needs to be done at the Heart Institute. If your condition remains stable, the frequency of this testing will decrease. The transplant advanced practice nurse (APN) will provide further information on this process. 

Post-transplant, you will require many heart biopsies to monitor you for signs of rejection. One biopsy will be completed before you leave the hospital, and the rest will be performed on an outpatient basis. 

The following schedule is typical for biopsies, but this may change depending on your condition: 

  • Weekly for the first month
  • Every two weeks in the second month
  • At 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months
  • If treated for rejection, you will have a biopsy two weeks after that treatment

Each time you have a biopsy, you will be seen in clinic.

After two years you will be seen every six months in clinic. If you live far away from the hospital you may be seen yearly, with regular annual testing. The frequency of your tests and visits will depend on your condition. Some visits can be completed with the use of telemedicine. With this option, you can go to your local hospital and meet with your cardiologist at the Heart Institute over a video link. 

Yearly testing is completed each year after your heart transplant. This testing includes the following:

  • Blood work
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • Perfusion study for your heart

You may require an angiogram in the first and fifth years after your transplant, or as determined by a change in your condition. This will be decided by your cardiologist. 
There may be additional testing that you require. Your cardiologist will decide if additional testing is required. 

Patient Instructions

Please bring an up-to-date list of your current medications to your clinic appointment. 

Review your medications at home to see if you need refills before you come to your clinic appointment. You can get “refill requests” from your pharmacist for the medications you need to have refilled. 

A letter will be sent to you prior to any clinic appointment listing any tests and the date and times for tests and appointments. 
If you are required to have blood work, an electrocardiogram (ECG) or chest X-ray for your visit, please bring the requisitions for these tests, which will be mailed to you. 

Patient Resources

At the Heart Institute:

Other Organizations:

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