Multidisciplinary team approach

Colleagues collaborate to offer transplant patients the best care possible

In the Transplant Center, Mayo Clinic doctors trained in many areas work as a multidisciplinary team to give you comprehensive care and the right answers the first time. Your team will take time to listen to your questions and concerns, which may include medical, nutritional, social, financial and spiritual issues. Transplant providers at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota evaluate and treat people who may need transplants.

Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons trained in treating children evaluate and treat children who need transplants at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota. Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona and Florida partner with other medical centers to treat children who need some types of transplants.

Your multidisciplinary transplant team

At Mayo Clinic, the multidisciplinary transplant team works together to manage your transplant care, from evaluation through post-transplant. Some of the team members who will participate in your evaluation are listed below. The team you meet with during your evaluation may not be the same team caring for you at the time of your transplant. Depending on your individual medical history and test results, you may also be seen by other specialists.

The integrated team in the Transplant Center includes doctors trained in many areas, including:

Besides these medical specialties, you'll also have staff dedicated to your needs, such as:

  • Clinical transplant coordinator (RN care coordinator), who will help you understand the transplant evaluation process, the organ waiting list, and what you need to do before and after transplant. The clinical transplant coordinator will answer your questions and help you become fully informed about the transplant process.
  • Transplant social worker, who will evaluate your ability to cope with the stress of the transplant and your ability to follow a treatment plan. The social worker will also help to identify your support network as you work to develop your plans for who will take care of you and where you will stay after transplant.
  • Transplant financial coordinator, who will discuss the costs associated with your transplant and with the medications you will need to take for the rest of your life after the transplant. The financial coordinator will work with you to help you understand your insurance coverage. It is important that you understand the costs that may not be covered by insurance. Both the financial coordinator and social worker will also help identify other resources for which you may be eligible to help fill any gaps in your insurance coverage.
  • Transplant registered dietitian, who will review your nutritional needs and provide nutrition education.
  • Transplant pharmacist, who will make sure you understand how to correctly take the medication you are prescribed. The transplant pharmacist also will review your current medications to make sure there are no interactions with the medications prescribed after transplant. This assessment may be done in person, by phone or by looking at your medical record.

Triathlete Transplant

Vivian Williams: This is a story of the power of perseverance and love. A man named Kevin Lou was a triathlete who developed a rare disease that caused his heart to fail. In a matter of months, he went from intense competition to barely being able to walk. He needed a heart transplant. In addition to his new heart, he got a lot more.

Kevin Lue: Well, Maureen likes to run. That is how we met.

Vivian: Running and competing in triathlons are passions for Kevin Lou, but when a disease called giant cell myocarditis caused his heart to fail.

Kevin: I couldn't believe how weak I was.

Vivian: Everything stopped.

Kevin: I pretty much got dizzy and just passed out.

Vivian: The cause of giant cell myocarditis is unknown. It results in the immune system attacking the heart.

Farris Timimi, M.D. — Mayo Clinic cardiologist: He presented with a disease that his body attacked his own heart and destroyed it. Destroyed his heart function to the point where it was negligible, but since he was in such phenomenal shape, he could still do things that he shouldn't have been able to do.

Vivian: But eventually, Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Timimi says Kevin's heart deteriorated to the point where he needed a heart transplant.

Dr. Timimi: I think if Kevin hadn't been in the shape he was, he would have died.

Vivian: A heart was not available immediately. Doctors implanted what is called a ventricular assist device, a mechanical pump that kept Kevin's heart going.

Kevin: We didn't actually know to think that this would ever end.

Vivian: They waited and waited and while they waited, Kevin and Maureen made a wonderful decision. To set a date for their wedding.

Kevin: The date was determined by when the best man and our family could be there.

Vivian: Even Dr. Timimi attended but the most exciting moment came the day after their vows.

Kevin: We were downloading the photos from the cameras when they called and said "Are you in town?" I said "yeah." and they said, "Well, we have a match." I said (laughing) "Oh, okay. I'll be there!"

Vivian: What a wedding gift! The gift of life.

Maureen Lue: 48 more years, right? We have to be married 48 more years so that we can celebrate our golden anniversary.

Vivian: And now that Kevin is fully recovered, he and Maureen can share their passion for running and love for each other.

Kevin: I've done four half marathons already this year and a triathalon so I'm doing much better.

Dr. Timimi: I think his story is a testimony to both his intrinsic reserve and for power of love. I really do.

For Medical Edge, I'm Vivian Williams.

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April 23, 2021