If I am accepted for transplant, how long will I have to wait?

If you are accepted for transplantation, you will be placed on a national computer list of active candidates waiting for a suitable donor. Recipients are chosen according to a complex set of criteria, including blood type, body and organ size, medical condition, and length of time on the waiting list. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) coordinates the equitable sharing of organs throughout the United States and oversees all donor centers and procurement agencies.

The waiting period can be several months to several years, while the transplant team searches for the appropriate heart for you. The transplant coordinators must be able to locate you 24 hours a day and you must be able to reach the hospital within a reasonable amount of time.