Heart transplant services in Largo, Florida

When a patient's heart fails to function as it should and other treatments have been unsuccessful, a heart transplant may be best option.

The heart transplant program at the Largo Advanced Heart Failure Clinic offers advanced medical and surgical treatments for advanced heart failure.

To learn more about the Largo Advanced Heart Failure Center, call (727) 588-5243.

Conditions treated by heart transplant surgery

Our entire heart failure team uses an interdisciplinary approach, with individual clinical programs designed to meet each patient's needs. It is the passion of our world-class team of nurses, cardiologists and surgeons which make us a leader in heart care and heart transplantation.

A heart transplant may be your best treatment option after your team of specialists has exhausted all medication and assistant therapies.

Heart transplant candidates may have one or more of the conditions below:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Ischemic cardiomyopathy
  • Myocarditis
  • Postpartum cardiomyopathy
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy
  • Valvular heart disease

Paying for heart transplant surgery

Most private insurers and Medicare cover heart transplants. A transplant financial coordinator will verify insurance benefits prior to your initial visit and assist you through the process to make sure you are financially covered for a heart transplant.

What to expect during the qualifying process

During the initial visit, you will meet with several team members and will be seen by an advanced heart failure cardiologist.

A formal heart transplant evaluation will be initiated if ordered by the transplant cardiologist. The evaluation will be managed and coordinated by the heart transplant coordinator. The qualifying evaluation will also include the heart transplant specialty team made up of specialists from various areas.

Tests required for heart transplant surgery

You can expect to undergo an extensive series of tests and evaluations to determine the appropriate treatment option. You may undergo these tests before heart transplant surgery:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Bone density screening
  • Cardiac evaluation with echocardiogram, functional stress test, right heart catheterization
  • Comprehensive blood work to evaluate kidney, liver and thyroid functions, blood type and antibody testing
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the head, depending on your health history
  • Carotid artery ultrasound
  • Peripheral vascular assessment
  • Pulmonary evaluation with chest X-ray, chest CT scan and possible breathing tests
  • Routine cancer screenings

After you've completed testing, the transplant surgeon will assess you physically and review potential risks, benefits and outcome statistics related to transplantation surgery and management.

Becoming an official heart transplant candidate

After you've completed the heart transplant evaluation, the heart transplant coordinator will compile your test results, consult reports and imaging results. Your results will be shared with the Medical Review Board (MRB), which meets weekly.

If the board determines you to be an eligible transplant candidate, you will be notified within 24 hours. Additionally, insurance approval will be sought for transplantation. Once your insurance company approves, you will be placed on the national waiting list.

If the MRB decides further testing is necessary to make a decision, you will be notified within 24 hours. The heart transplant coordinator will then schedule the necessary testing.

Heart transplant surgery

Once you've been notified that a donor heart is available for you, the process to transplant the donor heart will move quickly. You should make plans to live closer to the hospital temporarily if you live outside the radius required to make it to the hospital quickly. You should also coordinate transportation plans.

Post-surgery hospitalization and care

You can expect to stay at the hospital for seven to 10 days following your heart transplant surgery.

To determine if the transplantation has been successful and that your new heart has not been rejected by your body, we will perform the first heart post-transplantation biopsy.

The post-transplant nurse coordinator will begin medication and transplant education. During the education process, a pre-identified family member or friend is required to be educated with you.

Support system

Before your surgery, it's extremely important to identify a family member or friend that will be available as your support system. Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will be unable to drive for three months and are required to attend multiple appointments. Your first clinic visit will be one week after you are discharged.

You will also need transportation to cardiac rehabilitation three times each week for the first three months.