Heart transplantation

Surgical transplantation of the heart from a patient who died of trauma or a disease that left the heart intact and capable of functioning in the recipient. The only absolute contraindications are uncontrollable cancer or infection, irreversible pulmonary vascular disease, or a separate life-threatening disease; in general, however, patients over 65 years, those with severe renal or liver disease, and those with a history of noncompliance with medical regimens do not receive heart transplants. The major barrier to heart transplantation is the lack of donors; the number of potential recipients is approx. 10 times the number of donors each year.