Immediately before your transplant surgery
A heart transplant usually needs to occur within four hours of organ removal for the donor organ to remain usable. As a result, hearts are offered first to a transplant center close by, then to centers within certain distances of the donor hospital.
Transporting donor organs for transplant
Mayo doctors and staff can receive donor organs from other locations and transport them to prepare them for transplantation.
You’ll need to remain in close contact with the transplant team and let them know if you have any changes to your health. Make sure the transplant center has phone numbers to be able to contact you anytime. The transplant center needs to be able to reach you 24 hours a day.
When you’re notified that a potential organ is available, you and your transplant team have a limited amount of time to consider whether to accept the donation. You’ll be expected to travel to the transplant hospital immediately after being notified of the potential donation. You’ll usually need to be prepared to get to the hospital within three hours.
As much as possible, you should generally make travel plans ahead of time. Some heart transplant centers provide private air transportation or other travel arrangements. Have a suitcase packed with everything you’ll need for your hospital stay, as well as an extra 24-hour supply of your medications.
Once you arrive at the hospital, your doctors and transplant team will conduct a final evaluation to determine if the donor heart is suitable for you and if you’re ready to have surgery. If your doctors and transplant team decide that the donor heart isn’t appropriate for you or surgery isn’t appropriate for you, you may not be able to have the transplant.