Heart Transplant

A heart transplant is a surgery in which a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthier, donor heart. A Heart transplant is usually reserved for people who have tried medications or other surgeries, but their conditions haven’t sufficiently improved.

Heart Transplant - Overview

Drnaresh A heart transplant is a surgery in which a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthier, donor heart. A Heart transplant is usually reserved for people who have tried medications or other surgeries, but their conditions haven’t sufficiently improved. This surgery is performed by taking a functioning heart from an ‘organ donor’ and implanting it into the patient. The patient’s own heart is either removed or replaced with the donor’s heart or, much less commonly, the recipient’s diseased heart is left in place to support the donor’s heart.

Heart Transplant - Symptoms

Your doctor will recommend a heart transplant surgery when all other cardiac treatments are failed and when a person’s life is at risk because their heart no longer works effectively. Below are some of the usual reasons why a cardiac transplant is recommended–

  • Cardiomyopathy – when the walls of the heart have become stretched, thickened or stiff.
  • Congenital heart disease – When the heart defects since birth.
  • Coronary heart disease – When the fatty substances are built in the arteries supplying the heart that block or interrupt blood flow to the heart.

Before making a decision to have a heart transplant, your doctor will recommend you to try drugs, placing pacemakers or exploring one of the many new surgical therapies. If all else fails, the last resort is to have a transplant. Before the transplantation, the surgeons will look into the following factors –

  • If the patient is suffering from end-stage congestive heart failure or serious coronary artery disease
  • When no other treatments result to cure abnormal heartbeats/ rhythms
  • If the patient is at risk of dying within the year because of the deteriorating health of his or her heart
  • Existence of Congenital Heart Disease

Heart Transplant - Pre-Procedure

Before the surgery is performed your surgeon will first check whether you are a suitable candidate for a transplant or not. Or if you need a new heart? If yes, he will recommend you some additional tests to determine if you can handle the physical stress of the surgery and recovery of a heart transplant. Another major step to look into pre-surgery is finding the right donor for you if the donor’s heart becomes available tests are performed to see if the donor and the recipient are a good match or if there is any chance of rejection. Then the donor will also undergo evaluations to determine if they have the mental capacity to tolerate the transplant process and to care for them and manage an extensive drug regimen after surgery.

Your surgeon will ask you to pursue the following tests before your surgery –

  • Liver and kidney function tests
  • Tests that will help determine whether your body will accept the foreign heart
  • Cancer detection test.

Heart Transplant - During Procedure

Heart Transplant Surgery begins with giving the patient given general anesthesia, typically by an anesthesiologist. Once the patient is given anesthesia and he/She falls asleep, the procedure begins by making an incision in the middle of the chest, cutting through both the skin and bone of the chest to expose the heart. In most of the cases, there are two surgeons operating together to make the transplant process faster and smoother. After that, the patient is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine to maintain blood circulation in the body. This step in the surgery is key because the heart stops working, and then the surgeon removes it from the body and the donor’s heart is placed and sewn into place. Once the heart starts beating, and the final work the breastbone is then re-joined and the skin on it is stitched back together with staples, steristrips, or sutures. The new heart that is placed into the patient’s body starts to beat normally almost immediately. For the purpose of draining blood, air and fluid from the area around the heart few tubes are inserted which also helps in the full re-expansion of the lungs. Then the patient is taken to the ICU to recover and to slowly wake from sedation over the next day or even two days.

Heart Transplant - Post-Procedure

After a heart transplant surgery, it takes several months to recover and it may also involve cardiac rehabilitation. Post your heart transplant surgery, the patient is kept under constant monitoring for about 1 to 2 weeks.

Most of the patients are able to leave the hospital within a few weeks of the surgery and are recommended to visit the hospital for regular follow-up checks and rehabilitation for a few more weeks.

During this period the patient is also tested through frequent biopsies to make sure that the heart is not rejecting the body. Furthermore, the patient advised taking care of his/her health after discharge.

Immunosuppressant medicines are given to patients to prevent rejections. Within almost six weeks of the surgery, the patient may get back to many of their normal activities and reach the end of the recovery phase at the three to six-month mark.

Heart Transplant - Risk & Complications

Heart transplantation is one of the complex and major surgeries and also has some additional significant risks and complications. For instance, the patient’s body may reject the new heart, in some of the cases. Immunosuppressant’s are provided to make sure that the immune system doesn’t attack the heart by recognizing it as a foreign body. In addition to this, there are other risks that include –

  • Lip and skin cancer due to immunosuppressants
  • Development of blood clots or thickening of the coronary arteries that result in heart attacks, lung problems or stroke.
  • Kidney failure due to immunosuppressants
  • Infections spread through wounds
  • Breathing problems

 

 

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Procedure Cost in USD Stay in Hospital Stay in India Total Days
Heart Transplant 50000 15 days 20 Days 35

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