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Cardiac Transplant Postoperative Management and Care

Freeman, Regi MSN, RN, ACNS-BC; Koerner, Erika BSN, RN, CSC; Clark, Courtney MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CCRN, CSC, CMC; Halabicky, Kathy MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000116
Original Articles

Heart failure impacts a multitude of individuals each year. Treatment is based on the progression of the disease and severity of symptoms. Cardiac transplant is the gold standard treatment of advanced heart failure, although the availability of organs limits the number of transplants received each year. Postoperative care and monitoring for cardiac transplant is complex and requires specialized nurses and providers at transplant centers for successful outcomes. This article outlines cardiac transplant from preoperative care through transplant, as well as posttransplant monitoring and care including discharge. Special attention is focused on management in the intensive care unit setting and potential complications that can occur in the immediate postoperative period. Interventions for potential complications are also highlighted.

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor (Mss Freeman, Koerner, Clark, and Halabicky); and University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor (Mss Freeman and Halabicky).

Correspondence: Regi Freeman, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, 4726C Cardiovascular ICU Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center University of Michigan, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (

We would like to acknowledge the care provided by our extraordinary multidisciplinary team at the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan. We could not provide the finest care to our patients without our nursing staff, advance practice team, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, spiritual care professionals, heart failure team, pharmacists, social workers, case managers, perfusionists, surgeons, intensivist team, and many others. Special thanks go to Dr Francis Pagani, Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program and the Heart Transplant Program, and Dr Jonathan Haft, Director of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Program, for their review and assistance with this article.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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