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Heart Transplant Surgery

The heart transplant team at UNC Medical Center is well regarded for their expertise and surgical skills. You can feel confident about the heart care you receive. We have performed hundreds of heart transplants since 1986, helping people enjoy all that life has to offer.

Transplant Support Team

We support you throughout the entire process. A heart transplant coordinator is available 24/7 to answer your questions and guide you and your loved ones. Your transplant care team helps alleviate stress so you can focus on getting well.

Heart Transplant Surgery: What to Expect

The procedure typically lasts five to six hours. Surgery may take longer if you have had previous heart surgeries or a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). A multiple-organ transplant, such as heart and kidney, also requires more time.

You can expect to be in the hospital for approximately two weeks. Specialists with training in heart transplant monitor your recovery. You start taking immunosuppressants, or anti-rejection drugs, to help your body accept the new heart. During your stay, we teach you and your family how to care for your new heart.

After a Heart Transplant

Long-term care by your heart specialist helps ensure a successful transplant outcome and a healthy future. Your follow-up care includes:

  • Tests: You will need frequent medical tests, bloodwork and exams.
  • Rehab: When your doctor gives the OK, you can start cardiac rehabilitation. This supervised exercise program helps strengthen your new heart while you regain your stamina. Our program is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation.



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