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Heart transplant

Heart transplantation is a treatment option for serious heart disease. A heart transplant is an operation in which a diseased, weakened heart is replaced with a healthier donor heart. Heart transplants are only performed after other treatment options such as medications or other procedures have been unsuccessful. 

As a patient in the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program, our goal for you is to return to a more normal lifestyle following your transplant. Because every individual is unique, we cannot predict how your body will respond after transplant, but a successful procedure may give you increased strength, stamina and energy. However, these potential benefits do not come from surgery alone. The success of your transplant will also depend on you. By following the treatment plan prescribed by your transplant team, you can increase your odds of maintaining a positive outcome following surgery.

Why might I need a heart transplant?

A person who qualifies for a heart transplant has heart failure that can no longer be helped by medicine. End-stage heart failure is a disease where the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body and occurs after the heart is severely damaged. 

Your doctor may refer you to our clinic for evaluation. You may also choose to reach out to us if you no longer feel your medical treatment is working. Heart transplant is complicated and may not be the right treatment option for everyone. The goal of a heart transplant is to improve the quality and length of your life. If you have one or more of the following conditions, a heart transplant may be needed: 

  • Advanced heart failure 
  • Irregular heart rhythms not fixed by other treatments 
  • A temporary or permanent ventricular assist device 
  • Your health care provider may have other reasons to recommend a heart transplant.

Why choose us

  • We offer cutting edge transplantation techniques, including the use of SherpapakTM 
  • We have an expedited evaluation process 
  • Our program has outstanding short and long term patient survival rates 
  • We participate in less invasive post-transplant rejection practices, such as use of AlloMap Heart®
Transplant outcomes graph

Spectrum Health is the only health system in West Michigan to perform heart transplants. Since 2010, the surgical team within the Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program has performed more than 150 transplants. Transplantation is very complex and requires a group of highly trained and dedicated experts to walk the journey with each patient, family and friend. Choosing our program means access to a program with top survival outcomes, innovative research, personal transplant coordinators and rapid clinical evaluations. Call us today to schedule a personalized evaluation to see if you qualify for our program.

When to ask for a second opinion

We will perform an evaluation to see if a heart transplant is an option for you. Our highly specialized physicians and surgeons will collaborate to discuss individual cases and develop personalized care plans for our patients. Please call our team to request a second opinion if you have experienced any of the following: 

  • Continue to have symptoms even after medical treatment 
  • Your recommended treatment plan seems risky or you feel unsure about the recommendation 
  • You would like to be dual-listed for transplant 
  • A second opinion regarding heart transplant candidacy should always be considered, transplant programs have different criteria for assessing acceptability

Meet our heart transplant team

Dr. Bob Hooker, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Dr. Bob Hooker, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

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