Background: Practitioners working with candidates for heart transplants and their families know that the heart transplant waiting process is psychologically stressful and demanding. Spouses of heart transplant candidates struggle with multiple demands. Although many have studied the impact of heart transplantation on patients, only a few investigators have studied the impact of the heart transplant waiting period on spouses. Methods: Using survey research methods, we studied the impact of the heart transplant wait on the lives of 85 spouses of heart transplant candidates from three sites using the following: Spouse Transplant Stressor Scale, Jalowiec Coping Scale, Family Inventory of Resources for Management, Quality of Life Index, a six-item rating scale, and a demographic form. Results: One- third of the sample (30.6%) believed that the heart transplant waiting experience had a negative impact on their life, two-thirds (65.9%) believed it had a positive impact, and 3.5% believed that the heart transplant experience had no impact on their life. The longer the patient partner waited for a heart transplant, the more negative the impact was on the spouse's life (r = -0.23, p = 0.04). Spouses experiencing a negative impact from the heart transplant experience reported higher stressor scores (F = 3.74, p = 0.03), used more negative coping strategies (F = 3.69, p = 0.03), and had a lower quality of life (F = 3.28, p = 0.04). Conclusions: Spouses who reported a more negative impact from the heart transplant waiting experience were under more stress, used negative coping strategies, reported a lower quality of life, and had patient partners who waited longer for a heart.