Listing and Waiting

After patients are accepted for transplantation and insurance approval is obtained, they are listed with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national computerized listing organization that matches transplant recipients with available organs. When a patient is added to the UNOS transplant waiting list, his or her medical profile is entered into the UNOS computerized database. This system adds the patient's name and medical history into a pool of patient names. Once an organ donor becomes available, the computer then generates a list of patients who match the donor organ.

Matches are based on the following criteria, and include:

  • Locality (where the patient is listed)
  • Time spent on the waiting list
  • Blood type
  • Size
  • Severity of illness

Donated organs always are distributed locally first. If a suitable match for the organ does not exist in the local area, the organ is offered regionally, and then it is offered nationally.

Once a patient is placed on the list, he or she must wait for a donor heart to become available. The health care team will monitor the patient closely to assure that the patient's heart failure is controlled. Patients are seen periodically by their transplant cardiologist at a frequency determined by their level of illness. While awaiting transplant, patients may require hospitalization for changes in their medical condition. The addition of intravenous medications or heart assist devices may be necessary to keep candidates stable until a donor heart becomes available.

A transplant coordinator will discuss with the patient how he or she will be notified if a donor heart is available. The hospital must know where to contact the patient at all times should a heart become available. Once a compatible donor organ becomes available, the patient is notified and is admitted to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis for a stay that lasts about two weeks.

Contact Us

Baptist Transplant Program

6025 Walnut Grove Rd.
Suite 111
Memphis, TN 38120


Attn: Transplant Services

Driving directions to Baptist Memphis.

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