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  1. Freeman, Regi MSN, RN, ACNS-BC
  2. Koerner, Erika BSN, RN, CSC
  3. Clark, Courtney MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CCRN, CSC, CMC
  4. Halabicky, Kathy MSN, RN, ACNP-BC


Heart failure is a progressive and fatal disease impacting millions of American each year. Divided into stages, heart failure presents with progressive symptoms requiring a wide range of medical treatments. Treatments include diet and lifestyle changes, medications, electrical therapies (defibrillator and/or cardiac resynchronization therapy), as well as mechanical circulatory support. Cardiac transplant is the gold standard treatment of heart failure, although the availability of donors limits the utility of a cardiac transplant. This article outlines heart failure treatments and the indications, contraindications, and pretransplant evaluation for a cardiac transplant. Information on the allocation of donor hearts and donor characteristics is also included for the reader.