Profiling Heart Transplant Candidates

Human heart transplantation has been with us for over 40 years, and we’ve come to expect this as an everyday miracle for heart failure patients. On this edition of Your Health Matters, host Christopher Springmann speaks with Dr. Enrique Gongora about who qualifies for a transplant and what they can expect once a new heart is beating in their chest. Dr. Gongora, Director of Heart Transplantation and Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Programs at Scott & White’s Temple, Texas clinic, tells us, “Heart transplant candidates are patients that have failed medical therapy. They can be compensated heart failure patients at home that have had long-standing heart failure. They can be patients that are on intravenous Inotropes or medications that increase the contractivity of the heart. Or there may be patients that have deteriorated so much that require to be admitted to the hospital, maybe even the intensive care unit.” As for life expectancy following the surgery, Dr. Gongora has some good news, especially for older patients. “Heart transplant patients at five years, 75 percent of them are alive. And at 10 years, 50 percent of them are alive. And at 15 years, about 25 percent are alive. So survival is much better than any therapy for heart failure at this point in time. Their quality of life is very good. Most patients with heart transplantation regain adequate functional status.”  And if you had difficulties breathing or moving comfortably prior to heart transplantation, “adequate functional status” is pretty darn good!

More about Enrique Gongora
Dr. Enrique Gongora serves as Director of Heart Transplantation and Ventricular Assist Device Programs at Scott & White Healthcare’s clinic in Temple, Texas. As a cardiothoracic surgeon, he practices adult cardiac, critical care surgery and general surgery. Dr. Gongora began his medical education at Bogota, Columbia’s Universidad Del Rosario. He trained in general surgery and surgical critical care at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.; in cardiothoracic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; and in advanced adult cardiac surgery and cardiothoracic transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Medical Association. Since Dr. Gongora joined Scott & White Healthcare in 2009, his patient care emphasis has been aortic surgery, arrhythmia surgery, cardiothoracic critical care, coronary artery bypass grafting, heart failure surgery, heart transplant, heart valve surgery, and Ventricular Assist Devices.

More about Scott & White Healthcare
When Arthur C. Scott, M.D. and Raleigh R. White Jr., M.D. began their medical practice in Temple, Texas in 1897, they shared one fundamental conviction: medicine must serve the people. Today, Scott & White Healthcare is a fully integrated health system — the largest multi-specialty practice in Texas and the sixth largest group practice in the nation. Scott & White employs more than 1,100 health care providers and research scientists who care for patients covering 25,000 square miles across Central Texas.

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About Christopher Springmann

Christopher Springmann is Executive Producer and Senior Correspondent of Life, Love and Health, the award-winning health and wellness program that reaches millions daily on multiple news, talk and sports channels including Sirius XM, CNN, FOX, NPR affiliates, American Forces Network, and

Life, Love and Health is also Mr. Springmann’s latest endeavor in a journey of “creative convergence” that started as a photographer for Time, Fortune, National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines. He moved into writing leadership profiles for Chief Executive and California CEO magazines, which in turn provided the inspiration for creating Life, Love and Health: to fulfill the unmet need of telling America’s health story. Mr. Springmann meets this need in entertaining and emotionally engaging ways, with the authentic voices of real people, including a diverse group of doctors and nurses, patients and their families, plus researchers and innovators in the health-and-wellness field. He relies on the credibility and persuasiveness of people’s passionate storytelling to get the point across. People identify with the experiences of others and are encouraged to take positive, attainable actions to improve their personal and family health.

Christopher is also the Host of Life, Love and Health on WomensRadio. Life, Love and Health seeks to ultimately make a difference in people’s lives by encouraging individuals to take positive, attainable actions to improve their personal and family health.