Donated organs always are utilized locally first. If a donor match for the organ does not exist locally, the organ is then offered to a larger region, and then finally it is offered nationally if no regional match is found.
All potential heart donors are assessed carefully to best match a heart for a recipient. Each donor organ undergoes an evaluation coordinated by our local organ procurement organization, LifeLink of Georgia. A careful medical and social history is obtained by the organ procurement coordinator. Each donor undergoes laboratory testing to see if there is any exposure to, or presence of, infectious diseases.
The final decision on whether or not a heart is suitable for a patient listed at Piedmont is made by our transplant surgeon. The surgeon goes to the donor hospital and can see the heart first-hand. Sometimes, a heart that appears suitable turns out to have a problem that is only seen when the transplant surgeon arrives.
It is common for patients waiting for a heart transplant to have one or more "dry runs." This is where you are admitted for transplantation only to find out that the donated organs is not acceptable. You are then discharged back to home. These "dry runs" can be trying for you and your family. It is important to know that "dry runs" are possible while waiting for heart transplantation.