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From the Heart
March 20, 2019

142 Days

Author Affiliations
  • 1Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
  • 2Freelance writer, Los Angeles, California
  • 3Division of Cardiology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Cardiol. 2019;4(4):309-310. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.0397

The inpatient heart transplant wait list is a study in suspended animation. Cardiologists perform a delicate dance of inotrope and diuretic titration to maintain the oxymoronic state of stable cardiogenic shock. This precarious equilibrium must be maintained until the indefinite moment when a donor heart will become available. There is tremendous pressure on the physicians, but what does this limbo feel like for the patient on the other end of the pulmonary artery catheter? This is one such patient’s story, as seen through the eyes of the cardiology fellow, the attending physician, and the patient himself.

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