About five million people in the US suffer from heart failure, and approximately half of them die within five years of being diagnosed. Only about 2,500 people a year receive a heart transplant - the treatment of last resort. A new heart can be life-saving, but it is also life-changing. Even under the best conditions, the surgery is complex, and recovery carries a heavy physical and emotional burden.
And not all heart transplant recipients fare equally well after the surgery. Researchers have found that black heart transplant patients are more likely to die after surgery than white or Hispanic patients.