Heart Transplantation

Why is it done?

In severe heart failure, when all other treatments have failed to produce expected improvements but your health is still fairly good, you may be a suitable candidate for a heart transplant operation. Unfortunately, you may have to wait months or even years before a suitable heart becomes available due to the current shortage of donors.

A heart transplant can prolong your life and improve your quality of life compared with conventional treatment. However, this is a major decision and patients are evaluated very carefully before proceeding to transplantation.

What does it involve?

Heart transplantation is a complicated operation that can take from 4 to 10 hours. During the operation, you will be placed on a heart-lung machine that supplies blood to your brain and body.

Your heart will then be removed and your blood vessels will then be connected to your new heart, allowing blood to flow to your body. After your operation, you will be closely monitored to check that your body is not rejecting your new heart. Several medicines are required on a permanent basis following transplantation to prevent your body from rejecting the donor heart.

For more information on heart transplantation,  visit the websites below:

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers.

heartfailurematters.org is a European Society of Cardiology website

The heartfailurematters.org website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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