A heart transplant is a surgical procedure in which a diseased heart from the person is removed and replaced with a healthy heart from an organ donor. The organ donor is to be declared brain dead at least by two healthcare providers.
In most serious cases in which medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatment measures fail and the patient is at the end stage of heart failure and the only option left is of a heart transplant, then only this surgical procedure is carried out. The person should meet some specific and particular criteria to be eligible for a heart transplant.
On average 3500 - 5000 heart transplants occur every wear worldwide, however, more than 50,000 candidates require transplantation. Due to the organ shortage, the heart transplant surgeons and the associated healthcare providers must strictly evaluate who should receive a heart transplant
There are many factors that can affect the costs
Firstly, the transplant team would access the eligibility of the patient who needs the heart transplant. All the eligibility criteria are checked properly. You may need to visit quite a several times to the center to get your blood tests, x-rays, and all other investigations are done.
Following tests are done to check the eligibility for a heart transplant –
After performing all the tests, if the transplant team would find the patient is eligible, he /she is put on the waiting list for the transplant procedure.
Few patients who need a transplant are usually very ill thus need hospitalization or are put on devices such as Ventricular assist device so that heart could pump enough blood to the body.
Donors heart once available is cooled and stored in a special solution and it is made sure the heart is in good condition. As soon as the donor's heart is made available, the transplant surgery for the recipient is started.
The surgery is long and complicated and takes around 4 hours minimum to 10 hours maximum. The surgery is carried out in general anesthesia. The procedure starts in which the patient is put on a heart-lung machine this machine allows the body to receive all the nutrients, oxygen from the blood while the surgery is going on.
Now the patient's diseased heart is removed and the donor's heart is placed. The heart transplant surgeon then looks up for the blood vessels whether they are supplying blood properly to the heart and lungs. The heart-lung machine is then disconnected. The transplanted heart when warms up it begins to beat and starts supplying the body with blood and oxygen.
The surgeon looks up for any leakage before removing the patient from the heart-lung machine and tubes are even inserted for drainage for few days until the lungs expand fully.
Patients usually respond well to heart transplant surgery and within few days they are ready to discharge. The only issue that could be seen is organ rejection by the body. If the body is not showing any signs of rejection patient is discharged within 15 days.
Post-procedure care requires maintaining overall health, lifestyle modification, quitting smoking and alcohol, monitoring the body weight, controlling blood pressure and diabetes and eating a healthy and less salty diet, and taking medication on time. A daily routine with a proper healthy diet, exercise, and following doctors' instructions are very important.
The patient is also guided regarded how to identify the signs of rejection and infection and contacting your transplant surgeon as soon as possible. You may require regular blood investigations, echocardiograms might be every month or two, however after 1-year monthly monitoring is not required but yearly testing is still required to check for heart function and recovery.
Medications such as immunosuppressants are started after a heart transplant and they could weaken the immune system as they need to be taken for the rest of the life. These medicines prevent the activity of the immune system to attack the donor's heart but they can lead to other side effects too.
Recovery after a heart transplant is a long process and might take 6 months as the patient adjusts to a new lifestyle post-procedure. However, the hospital stay is for 2- 3weeks depending on the individual rate of recovery to the new organ.
Following are the best 10 hospitals for Heart Transplant in the world:
|1||MIOT International, Chennai||India||Chennai||---|
|2||Sheba Medical Center||Israel||Tel Aviv||---|
|3||MGM Healthcare, Chennai||India||Chennai||---|
|5||MIOT International, Chennai||India||Chennai||---|
|6||Fortis Memorial Research Institute||India||Gurgaon||---|
Following are the best doctors for Heart Transplant in the world:
A heart transplant is safe and successful if the body's immune system accepts the new heart. However, in few cases, it has some serious risks. When the body's immune system rejects a new heart it could lead to a serious complication that may range from infection, blood clotting leading to heart attack, stroke.
Heart transplant is associated with few significant risks that may range from infection, bleeding, and other risks too. One of the most common risks is a rejection of donors' hearts by the body's immune system. However, medications are given to prevent the rejection, and thus chances of rejection reduce. Rejection does occur without symptoms sometimes so the patient must follow the advice of the surgeon and must continue necessary investigations during the first year of surgery. The investigation includes heart biopsies in which a tube is inserted in the neck directed to the heart. Biopsy devices run through the tube thus the tiny sample of heart tissue is taken and the sample is examined in the lab. Loss of function of the heart is yet another risk that can lead to death after a heart transplant. Medications like immunosuppressants on which the patient is kept life long might damage other organs such as kidneys and could increase the risk of development of cancers. The chances of infection increase after a heart transplant and thus during the first year of transplant extra care is required.
Every time, a heart transplant is not successful, there are chances of failure of a new heart. Medications are always prescribed to prevent this. However, in most extreme cases the patient might need to go for another heart transplant.
Heart transplant surgery depends on various factors such as equipment used, tests recommended, medications used, condition of the patient, hospital stay, the expertise of the surgeon and the team.
Lifelong medication is the only disadvantage with the heart transplant and it is necessary to prevent rejecting the donor's heart. However, most heart transplants are successful and the recipient leads a good life.
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The information on this page was reviewed and approved by Mozocare team. This page was updated on 19 Mar, 2022.