Indexed on: 15 Feb '13Published on: 15 Feb '13Published in: Expert review of cardiovascular therapy
Heart transplantation is the treatment of choice for many patients with advanced heart failure who remain symptomatic despite optimal medical therapy. Although heart transplantation results have improved over the past 10 years, careful patient selection and risk stratification of patients with advanced heart failure is paramount given limited allograft resources. Moreover, as alternative therapies to heart transplant, such as mechanical circulatory support, continue to improve in terms of patient outcomes, the selection strategy for those patients who would benefit from device support as destination therapy or bridge-to-transplant versus those patients who should proceed directly to transplant will continue to evolve. This review focuses on the optimal timing for heart transplant, risk stratification models for patient selection, as well as examining factors that continue to provoke controversy during the candidate selection process and factors that have changed from absolute to relative contraindications as the authors experience with cardiac transplantation continues to increase.