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Possible Heart Transplant

  I am getting some conflicting recommendations regarding possible heart transplant.  I am 36, have had diabetes since 6 months of age, and have had two heart attacks within the past six months.  I now have eight stents, am told that I cannot tolerate any more, and bypass is not a possibility because the veins are too constricted around my heart.  I'm told that the possibility for yet another heart attack is probable.  I am unable to tolerate any exercise, I am on a barrage of medicines that include Coreg, Vasotec, Lasix, Aldactone, Zaroxolyn, Plavix, Aspirin, Ismo, and I have to resort to sublingual nitro more and more frequently.  I have one group of doctors telling me that they don't "do diabetics", but they don't think I am at the stage for transplant yet anyway.  I have another group of doctors that say they think it is time to consider it.  My most recent MUGA shows an ejection fraction of 37% and I'm told that the heart function on the left side of my heart, where both of the heart attacks have occurred, is extremely diminished.  
       My question:  How do you know when it's time to consider this drastic procedure?  I am due to meet with a transplant team next week to start the process.  Should I worry that I might get a heart transplant if I don't need one??  The group of doctors that say it's not time yet don't seem to have any other recommendations.  They suggest that I take a look at the new laser stuff that is being done at Baylor, but they also say that this procedure only helps with the pain from angina.  My biggest complaint is the shortness of breath which comes on with every low blood sugar and often comes on when I'm at total rest. I wake up at night a lot and feel that I need to sit up so that I can catch my breath.  I also worry about the next pending heart attack.  If angioplasty i out, what will happen then?
       I'm sorry that i've been so wordy, but I thought the details might help.
1 Responses
Avatar universal


Dear Sherrie
The transplant team will not recommend a transplant unless it is the right thing to do - they will not do one too early. I think it is a good idea to meet with the transplant team. They will perform detailed testing to determine whether transplant is a good idea for you at this time. Even if they do not feel that you are currently a candidate for heart transplant, they can give your doctors ideas to better manage your symptoms. The laser treatment is something we do too. It appears to help symptoms, but there is no good evidence yet that it prolongs life.
I hope this has been useful. I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to write back.
Information provided here is for general purposes only. Specific questions should be addressed to your own doctor. If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.

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