Patients referred to MUSC for a heart transplant will be admitted to the hospital for a few days to have certain tests or be scheduled as an outpatient in the clinic for tests. These tests usually take three days to complete and are designed to determine:
- If a new heart is needed
- If any other illness, infection or problem is present that could make transplant surgery too risky
- If the patient is physically and emotionally strong enough to undergo a transplant.
- Blood tests to check kidneys, liver and immune system function
- Cardiac catheterization to check heart pressure
- MUGA scan to show the function of the left and right sides of the heart
- Echocardiogram – an ultrasound of the heart
- EKG to check heart rhythm
- Lung function test to determine how well the lungs are working
- Exercise stress treadmill test
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Bone density test to check for osteoporosis
- 24-hour urine collection to determine kidney function
- Other scans, such as MRI or CT scan
- Women will have a gynecological exam, pap smear and possibly a mammogram.
Patients are also evaluated by other specialists to determine if a transplant is the right treatment. Those who smoke or drink alcohol must quit at least three months before an evaluation.