The Path From Heart Failure to Cardiac Transplant

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Abstract

Heart failure is a progressive and fatal disease impacting millions of American each year. Divided into stages, heart failure presents with progressive symptoms requiring a wide range of medical treatments. Treatments include diet and lifestyle changes, medications, electrical therapies (defibrillator and/or cardiac resynchronization therapy), as well as mechanical circulatory support. Cardiac transplant is the gold standard treatment of heart failure, although the availability of donors limits the utility of a cardiac transplant. This article outlines heart failure treatments and the indications, contraindications, and pretransplant evaluation for a cardiac transplant. Information on the allocation of donor hearts and donor characteristics is also included for the reader.

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