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Heart Transplant team expands options with new method

The Heart Transplant Program surgery team at Yale New Haven Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center recently performed its first “donation after circulatory death” (DCD) heart transplant. 

YNHH is among the institutions participating in a nationwide DCD transplant clinical trial that could shorten heart transplant waitlist times and make more hearts available for patients, such as those with advanced heart failure. 

Traditionally, donor hearts for transplants come from patients who have experienced brain death. With the DCD procedure, hearts are transplanted from patients who died because their hearts stopped. 

At YNHH, 49 heart transplants were performed in 2019, marking important transplant program growth. Nearly 4,000 people nationwide are awaiting a heart transplant.