It takes an entire team of experts to provide quality medical care for each of our heart transplant patients. These are the key roles of Sharp HealthCare's multidisciplinary heart transplant team.
Patient and Family/Caregivers
It is essential that you participate as a responsible member of the team to facilitate in your well being. Additionally, support from family, significant others, caregivers or friends is an essential part of a successful transplant.
Heart Transplant Coordinator/Nurse Practitioner
These transplant specialists are there for you during every step of your heart transplant journey. They act as a liaison between you, your loved one and other members of the transplant team. They assist the doctor with your medical care — beginning with your first visit — and remain active in your care as long as you are in Sharp's heart transplant program. They are available to you 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, for urgent needs, as well as to respond to concerns and questions during regular business hours.
Heart Transplant Cardiologist
The cardiologist reviews your cardiac history and other disease processes such as diabetes. This doctor maximizes the medications for heart failure and determines what specific tests may be necessary to complete the transplant evaluation. Meet the heart transplant medical directors and team.
Heart Transplant Surgeon
The surgeon evaluates your former surgical history to determine if heart transplantation can be performed from a surgical standpoint. The surgeon will be the one performing the heart transplant.
The social worker examines you and your family’s psychosocial and emotional needs. These may include financial issues and concerns related to housing, medications and caregiver issues.
The staff nurse works with members of the heart transplant team to coordinate the everyday activities of your care during your hospital stay.
Transplant Office Assistant
This person runs the transplant office, answers phone calls, checks in patients, schedules appointments and tests, assists with billing and much more.
The clinical pharmacist is available to provide education regarding your medications. This can be provided during our monthly support group (if they are guest speaking) or on an individual basis. Your medications will change during this process. Before transplant, your medications keep your sick heart beating to the best of its ability as you wait for a heart. Once you receive the new heart, your medications will be given to prevent rejection and infection. If you had any chronic health problems that required medication therapy (outside your heart) you may still need to take the medications. For instance, a heart transplant does not reverse a sluggish thyroid or an enlarged prostate; those medications are still needed after transplant.
The financial counselor reviews your insurance coverage and clears you for the initial visit with the transplant team. This person provides information to you and your family on what expenses to expect for the future, and what supplemental fundraising options you may be required to do prior to being listed for your transplant.
The dietician meets with you and your family to determine your ideal body weight and teaches you about the dietary restrictions with heart failure as well as heart transplantation. These may include low fat, low salt and diabetic restrictions. There may also be specific fluid restrictions.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's transplant services or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego heart surgeon or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about transplant, visit Heart Transplantation in Adult Health or read the Transplant News archive.