Mayo Clinic's approach

Multidisciplinary team approach

At Mayo Clinic, doctors trained in heart disease (cardiologists), heart and lung surgery (cardiac and thoracic surgeons), infectious disease management, mental health conditions (psychiatrists), and other specialties collaborate as a multidisciplinary team to provide you with coordinated, comprehensive care. Doctors work together with health care professionals in many areas to evaluate you, perform your heart transplant and coordinate follow-up care.

Pediatric cardiologists, pediatric heart surgeons and other specialists work together to evaluate and treat children who may need heart transplants at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota. At Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, cardiologists partner with Phoenix Children's Hospital to treat teenagers and young adults with congenital heart disease.

Multiorgan transplant experience

Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons have experience evaluating and treating people with complex conditions who may need multiorgan transplants. Surgeons have experience performing multiorgan transplant procedures, such as heart-kidney, heart-liver and heart-lung transplants. A team of doctors trained in a wide array of specialties works together in Mayo Clinic's Transplant Center to treat people who may need multiorgan transplants.

Amyloidosis expertise

Mayo doctors have extensive experience and expertise evaluating and treating people with amyloidosis.

Amyloidosis is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in organs in your body. Amyloidosis can affect the function of many organs in your body.

If amyloidosis has seriously affected your heart, you may be eligible for a heart transplant or a heart-liver transplant. Your Mayo doctors and treatment team will evaluate your condition and determine if a heart transplant or other treatment may be most appropriate for your condition. Doctors at Mayo Clinic have experience treating amyloidosis with many treatments, including heart transplant for people who are eligible.

Individualized approach

Mayo Clinic doctors take the time to get to know you and work with you to provide exactly the care you need. Your doctors and transplant team will work with you and discuss your individual needs, desires and lifestyle to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

Depending on your individual condition and needs, your doctors and transplant team may recommend a heart transplant or other therapies, such as a ventricular assist device.

Common recommendations and treatment at all Mayo Clinic locations

Mayo Clinic's Transplant Center staff at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota works together to evaluate and treat people who may need a heart transplant. Mayo Clinic offers common recommendations, evaluation processes, treatment, post-surgical care and follow-up care for heart transplant candidates at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Mayo Clinic uses technology to help make patient information available as needed at all three locations.

Mayo Clinic staff coordinates care as needed between the three sites. You may be evaluated for a heart transplant at one Mayo Clinic location, but you may have a heart transplant at another location if it's in your best interest. If you have your evaluation and transplant surgery at different locations, Mayo staff from both locations collaborates as a team to provide you with comprehensive care through the transplant process.

Research and innovation

Mayo Clinic researchers in the Transplant Center conduct ongoing studies and clinical trials in improving surgical procedures, improving outcomes and caring for people who need transplants. Research also studies alternative therapies for people who may not need a transplant.

Mayo researchers also study medications and treatments for people who have had heart transplants, including new medications (immunosuppressant medications) to keep your body from rejecting your heart transplant.

For example, Mayo doctors have studied using sirolimus (Rapamune) as an immunosuppressant for people who have had heart transplants. Mayo Clinic doctors may recommend that some people use sirolimus instead of calcineurin inhibitors. Some people may need to continue using calcineurin inhibitors with sirolimus, but the dose of the calcineurin inhibitors may be lowered.

Sirolimus may help slow the progress of kidney problems or improve kidney function. It may also prevent or slow the progress of a disease that can occur after a heart transplant called cardiac allograft vasculopathy. In this disease, the walls of the arteries in your heart (coronary arteries) thicken and harden, which can cause limited blood flow through your heart.

Mayo Clinic doctors also use innovative imaging tests to detect signs of complications in your coronary arteries, such as cardiac allograft vasculopathy, after your heart transplant.

For example, Mayo doctors may use optical coherence tomography (OCT) — an imaging test that uses light waves to provide cross-sectional images of the arteries — to monitor for signs of narrowing and blockages in the coronary arteries. At Mayo Clinic, OCT may sometimes be used in combination with coronary angiography to detect coronary artery disease.