EPIDEMIOLOGY

In 2008, 2,163 cardiac transplants were performed in the United States (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010). Because heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans, many more heart transplants could be possible if more donor hearts were available for transplantation. In the United States, more than 72 percent of heart transplant recipients are male; 65.5 percent are white; 19.4 percent are between ages 35 and 49, and 54.2 percent are age 50 or older (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010). Individuals who undergo heart transplantation have a high survival rate (see Table 6-1).

The Social Security Administration currently grants disability to individuals who have undergone a heart transplant for 1 year after transplantation (see Box 6-1) with instruction to evaluate individuals with residual impairment after 1 year under the appropriate cardiac listing. As indicated above, cardiac transplants are shown to be highly successful in improving the functional capacity of recipients past an approximate 6-month recovery period.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The committee concludes the current listing evaluation criterion for heart transplant recipients is appropriate. During the first year after the procedure, patients who receive a cardiac transplant should meet the listing and receive disability. If heart transplant recipients continue to experi-

TABLE 6-1 Survival Rates After Heart Transplantation, by Sex

Survival Rates

Men

Women

1-year

88.0%

77.2%

3-year

79.3%

77.2%

5-year

73.1%

67.4%

SOURCE: Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010.

BOX 6-1

Current Listing for Heart Transplant

4.09 Heart Transplant. Consider under a disability for 1 year following surgery; thereafter, evaluate residual impairment under the appropriate listing.


SOURCE: SSA, 2008.



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