UTMB Health's Medicare-approved Heart Transplantation Program was established in 1993. UTMB also offers ventricular assist devices (VAD) placement as bridge to transplant or destination therapy.
The UTMB Texas Transplant Center provides a complete continuum of care, from initial evaluation and counseling through surgery, post transplantation, rehabilitation, and lifelong follow up.
The Heart Transplantation program has successfully treated end-stage
heart failure with transplantation since 1993, and has used Ventricular
Assist Device placement as bridge to transplant since 1994. Our program
offers patients with organ failure the full spectrum of management
options with experienced Heart Failure and Transplantation teams.
Wissam Khalife, MD directs the UTMB Heart
Transplantation program, and the surgical thoracic organ program is
under the direction of Dr. Ghannam A. Al-Dossari. Patient care is
provided by our multidisciplinary team of surgeons, physician
specialists, transplant coordinators, dedicated inpatient nursing and
ICU staff, occupational and physical therapists, social workers,
dieticians, transplant pharmacists, and financial counselors dedicated
to the health and education of transplant patients and their families.
Cardiac Transplantation Indications
- Intractable and irreversible cardiac dysfunction with NYHA Class III or IV functional limitation
- An expected survival without transplantation of less than 10% at one year
- No other medical or surgical therapeutic options
- Patients up to age 60 - 65 years who have good rehabilitation potential post transplant
- Significant COPD or interstitial lung disease
- Neoplasm not in a curable state
- Renal and hepatic failure independent of heart failure
- Insulin-dependent diabetes with impaired end-organ function
- Drug, tobacco or alcohol dependency
- Psychiatric or emotional disorder likely to interfere with medical compliance
- Any medical condition likely to limit survival after transplantation
Patients who have any of the above contraindications for transplant may be considered on an individual basis to determine
potential reversibility of the excluding factor.
Patients and their caregivers are seen in the outpatient transplant clinic by members of the Heart Failure and Transplant teams for an initial consultation and are screened for transplantation candidacy.
The multidisciplinary evaluation is then planned as a brief inpatient stay or as outpatient testing based on the patient’s needs.
The results of the transplant evaluation are reviewed by the Multidisciplinary Heart Transplant Selection Committee and a decision is made regarding the suitability of the patient for transplantation. The result is communicated to the patient and referring physician in writing.
While waiting for a heart transplant, patients are monitored closely by the Transplantation Team in collaboration with the referring physician. If indicated, the patient can be placed on inotropes or a ventricular assist device as a bridge to transplant.
A post-operative stay of ten days is generally anticipated. Transplantation patients at UTMB Health are provided individualized care and are educated by team members on how to be successful with a new and complex plan of care. Collaboration with all our referring physicians regarding follow up and readmission for serious complications ensures continuity of care.
Effective health care results from active collaboration and patients and their caregivers must work together to promote a positive
outcome. Communication with patients and referring providers is our priority.
The goal of transplantation is to improve quality of life. Many transplant recipients are able to return to work and an active lifestyle with a substantially improved quality of life. Heart transplantation patients will require lifelong medical care and medication to prevent rejection or complications.