Inova Heart Transplant Program
Inova Heart and Vascular Institute
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, VA 22042-3300
Fax: 703-776-2797

Patients may be referred to the Inova Heart Transplant Program by their primary care physician, cardiologist, insurance/case manager or may be self-referred. Referrals may be received by mail, fax, email or by telephone. In the case of a telephone referral, the referring party is instructed to mail/fax the pertinent patient records.

Each referral is reviewed in detail by the transplant cardiologist and coordinator. If the patient has an obvious contraindication, this information is communicated to the referring person. If the patient has a contraindication, but there is a chance that another therapy short of transplant may be offered, then the patient may be seen.

Members of the transplant team are available to speak with referring physicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the center's patient referral numbers listed above.

Who should be referred?

A patient's candidacy is based on the nature and severity of his or her heart disease, the patient's motivation, as well as the absence of any contraindications. The center's multidisciplinary team of physicians and transplant coordinators review each patient's pre-transplant status carefully to determine whether the patient's condition warrants a transplant. Advancing disease and the long wait on the transplant list make early referral necessary.

End-stage heart failure is the most common condition for which heart transplant is considered an option. Patients referred for heart transplant may have heart failure as a result of coronary heart disease, a hereditary condition, damaged tissue or an infection.

Generally, a patient considered for heart transplant has already tried other treatments and may have been hospitalized more than once for heart failure. Heart failure is considered "end stage" when other treatments (such as medicine, implanted devices or surgery) have failed to relieve symptoms.

Ineligibility guidelines

Transplant is often not recommended for patients with certain conditions, because the surgery is less likely to be successful. Patients with any of these conditions may not be eligible for a heart transplant:

  • Advanced age
  • Poor circulation
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Smoking
  • Immune system unable to match with a compatible donor
  • Active infection throughout the body
  • Inability (or unwillingness) to follow a permanent regimen of certain medical instructions
  • History of cancer or malignant tumors
  • Certain diseases of the kidney, lung or liver
  • Irreversible pulmonary hypertension

We endeavor to help patients resume many of their former activities, and we encourage patients to maximize their quality of life. With these goals in mind, we provide a wide range of support services to both patients and their families.

The transplant center staff uses a multidisciplinary support system to integrate every aspect of a patient's care before, during, and following the transplant procedure. All the needs of the patient and their families are met through the close collaboration of transplant center specialists. A strong emphasis is placed on family involvement, quality-of-life issues, and the cost-effective delivery of care throughout the transplant process. In addition to being worked-up for transplantation, patients also are evaluated for other treatment protocols.

Monthly transplant educational conferences are available for transplant candidates and their families. Similarly, post-transplant support groups are offered to patients and their families.