The Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Program at Methodist Heart Hospital offers medical and surgical therapies for heart failure.

A heart transplant can replace a failing heart that no longer pumps enough to meet the demands of the body. The goal of the heart transplant program at Methodist Heart Hospital is to exhaust all medical therapies before resorting to a heart transplant, which is reserved as a final life-saving option. Transplantation is only considered for patients with severe heart failure who meet transplant criteria and otherwise have healthy organs.

The Texas Transplant Institute has the largest heart transplant program in Central and South Texas. Over 400 transplants have been performed and 200 assist devices have been implanted since the programs inception in 1986.

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View the incredible story of a group of Methodist Healthcare Heart Transplant Recipients who decided to honor their donors and donor families by running the San Antonio
Rock n' Roll Half Marathon:

If your doctor feels you may be a candidate for heart transplant evaluation, you will have to undergo multiple diagnostic tests and medical evaluations. You will also participate in various consultations with members of our heart transplant inter-disciplinary team including our surgeons, dietitian, social worker, psychiatrist, financial advisor and other consulting physicians as necessary.

The heart transplant team meets on a regular basis to discuss a candidate’s needs and the likelihood of a successful transplantation. If you are an ideal candidate for the procedure, your name is placed on the UNOS waiting list for a donor heart. Your place on the list is determined by the severity of your illness and how long you have been waiting. You may move up or down the list as your condition declines or improves.

Private insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, provides coverage for heart transplants. Our financial coordinators verify transplant benefits from insurance and/or Medicare and Medicaid, assist patients with information and planning, help you understand what your insurance will and will not cover, estimate transplant costs and estimate what medicines will cost.

As the donor heart is being transported to the hospital, the patient will be prepared for surgery. The transplant operation lasts four to six hours. During the procedure, the patient is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, keeping the blood circulating and oxygenated. The diseased heart is removed, and the donor heart is reconnected to major blood vessels and surrounding tissues.

After surgery, the patient is taken to the surgical intensive care unit and then transferred to a regular room in the hospital’s transplant unit. Most transplant patients spend approximately 10 days in the hospital following operation.

While hospitalized, the transplant program inter-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses, dietitians and social workers provide post-transplant education and support services. The patient is informed about diet, exercise, cardiac rehabilitation and medications.

After discharge, activity will be limited for six to eight weeks. The patient must keep a daily record of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and dosages and times medication is taken. Patients are watched closely for signs of rejection of the transplanted heart. Rejection may occur because your body perceives the heart as foreign, and your immune system attacks the heart.

Because post-transplant medications are designed to suppress the immune system to reduce the risk of rejection, they also increase the risk of infection. Immediately following discharge, it is imperative that patients avoid large crowds or come in contact with unhealthy individuals.<


Your transplant team will do their best to reduce your chance of having complications and to treat any problems or difficulties right away. Following instructions carefully, and keeping your transplant team informed of any problems you think you may be having or are concerned about, will help you return to a normal, active life.