Heart transplant surgery
Heart transplant surgery is a surgical procedure which involves replacing a diseased heart with a healthy one. The procedure is a combination of three operations.
1. The first one involves harvesting a heart from the donor
2. the second one involves removing the patient’s diseased or damaged heart
3. whereas the third one is implantation of the donor’s heart into the
The entire procedure is conducted by a group of surgeons and can go on for a few hours. Only that donor who is brain dead may be used to retrieve the heart with the consent of the family. To know more about heart transplant, you can go through the following given information.
Symptoms which suggest that you need Heart transplant surgery:
A person may need a heart transplant if his heart isn’t able to pump blood with nutrients as well as oxygen to the organs of the body. Not everyone with a heart problem may need a transplant and a careful selection process is followed to decide who needs a transplant.
Transplants cannot be performed in patients who have a cancer, an active infection or bad diabetes mellitus. Also those who smoke or
abuse alcohol may not be the right candidates.
Potential candidates should undergo proper testings to determine
whether they should go for the transplant or not. One may be suggested to undergo lifestyle changes to be able to undertake the surgery.
Besides needing a heart and being healthy otherwise, the potential
donor’s heart must be compatible with the immune system of the
recipient to avoid chances of rejection.
Candidates with a congenital defect, coronary artery disease, valve dysfunctional disease or weakened heart muscle may need the heart transplant surgery.
Pre procedure and preparation
The following are the main steps of preparation and pre procedure that one must undergo before the heart transplant surgery:
1. The process begins with general evaluation of the heart health and overall health of the patient and for this a number of tests are performed.
2. If all factors suggest that the patient must undergo heart
transplant, then he/she will be admitted to the hospital and some
medications may be stopped prior to the procedure.
3. This is done once a donor’s heart is made available and the patient
is top on the waiting list.
4. The patient must be accompanied with someone so as to drive him and
also be present with him throughout the procedure.
The following are the steps that will be followed during the heart transplant surgery:
1. The entire procedure lasts for almost 4 hours and during this time,
the patient is placed on a heart-lung disease so as to keep the
blood circulating throughout the process.
2. The surgeon will first remove the heart and this will leave the
pulmonary vein openings back wall of left atrium as they were. This
is done to prepare to receive a new heart.
3. The donor heart is then stitched into the right place and this will
make the heart beat again. The patient is then removed from the
4. Sometimes an electric shock is needed to make the heart beat.
The following steps take place after the Heart transplant surgery:
1. After the heart transplant surgery is complete, the patient is taken
to ICU and is then properly and closely monitored. Chest pain
medications are also given.
2. After 2 days, the patient is removed from the ICU but will be
shifted to the hospital room. A few days are needed for proper
3. The hospital stay may range from 1 to 3 weeks depending upon the
4. Patient is also checked for infections and proper medications are
5. Anti rejection medications are also given if required.
6. The full recovery can take anywhere between 4 to 6 months.
Risks and complications
Every major surgery has several risks and complications associated with it and the same is true with heart transplant surgery. The following is a list of possible risks that one may face after or during the procedure:
- The first and major side effect or complication associated with a
heart transplant surgery is the risk of rejection by the recipient.
In such a case the doctors may try to find a more suitable heart as
soon as possible. Sometimes the heart may also start to accept the
heart with the help of immunosuppressants.
- Some other side effects of a heart transplant surgery include
weakness, fatigue, fever, malaise and flu like symptoms.
- Risk of wound infection is always present and an infection must be
immediately reported to the doctor or surgeon.
The cost of heart transplant may depend upon many factors like hospital, doctor and other such things but the average cost of the surgery as well as the treatment may range between 5 to 25 lakh. The post operative care may cost between Rs. 30000 and Rs. 50000 whereas lifelong medication may cost about Rs. 13000 every month.
Key global facts
The following are some key global facts about Heart transplant surgery:
- It is a fact that patients with end stage heart failure account for
90% heart transplant recipients.
- Paediatric patients make up for the remaining 10% of the transplant