Does the Heart Transplant Allocation Process Discriminate Against HCM Patients?

A recent article by doctors from the University of Utah Health Sciences Center found that patients with HCM who are in need of heart transplantation may wait longer for a new heart than patients with other cardiomyopathies.  Additionally, HCM patients may experience stroke or other adverse consequences while awaiting transplant.

The discrepancy is attributable, in part, to the fact that HCM patients are not often candidates for LVADs (left ventricular assist devices) and other types of mechanical circulatory support devices which are used to bridge patients awaiting transplant.

Hence, the article argues, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS -the organization responsible for the allocation of donor organs in the U.S.) should take these factors into consideration as it revises its system of heart allocation for patients awaiting transplant.

On a positive note, the article points out that long-term survival in HCM patients has improved over time, and HCM patients now do as well or better following transplant  than patients who have been transplanted for other types of cardiomyopathy.

HCMA Founder Has Successful Heart Transplant

Lisa Salberg, Founder and CEO of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, underwent a successful heart transplant last week at New Jersey’s Newark Beth Israel Hospital. Her  experience is featured in this article published today on NorthJersey.com  (The Bergen Record).

Lisa’s future plans include continuing her many advocacy efforts on behalf of HCM patients, as well as running in a 5K race.  We have a feeling that Lisa will be competing in Track & Field events at the Transplant Games of America before you know it!

EDITED TO ADD STORIES ABOUT LISA HOLDING HER OLD HEART IN HER HANDS ON VALENTINE’S DAY IN ORDER TO EDUCATE OTHERS ABOUT HCM.

Inside Edition (with video)

News 12 New Jersey (with video)

ABC News

BBC Radio Interview