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February is Heart Month. During the month of February, it’s time to get educated on heart health and heart donation. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women throughout the United States? Many people are able to decrease their own risk of heart disease by eating healthier, stopping smoking, and staying active. Although, for others it’s not that simple.

For many adults and children, their heart health is affected by coronary artery disease (CAD); valvular heart disease; or congenital heart defect which can all cause heart failure. Heart failure happens when the heart is not working and pumping as it should be.

When no other treatments, medications, or surgeries are working to treat heart failure, then a heart transplant is often the next best option.

Currently, there are 4,000 people waiting for a new heart in the United States.

Heart transplant candidates will be placed on a national waiting list that does not work on a first-come, first-served basis. Why? Because when a donor heart becomes available, there are three main factors taken into account before a transplant can take place, which are…

  • Medical urgency
  • Distance from the donor hospital
  • Pediatric status

Furthermore, the blood type, body size, and other medical information are taken into account before completing the matching process. The transplant list is managed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year by United Network for Organ Sharing.

In honor of Heart Month, we are encouraging everyone to register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. Being a heart donor is offering the Gift of Life to a potential recipient. Register to be a donor at unyts.org/checkyes, and one day you could give years of life to someone in need of a heart.