Transplantation

Heart Transplant in India: Causes, Procedures, and Risks

February 14th, 2018
Heart Transplant in India: Causes, Procedures, and Risks

Our body is a complex system of various organs that work together to enable different bodily functions. In order to enjoy a healthy and happy life, it is necessary for these organs to work effectively. Among these organs, our heart is the most crucial organ that is meant to be center of various things in the body. It basically works like a pump that provides blood to all organs of the body. Due to various reasons, the heart faces various adversities and suffers from various problems at some point in life.

In most of the heart problems, people resort to medicines and minor surgeries to rectify the underlying problem. However, in serious cases, heart transplantation emerges out as the only available option. Heart transplantation is actually a procedure by which the worsening heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a matching donor.

Heart transplantation is not a first-line of surgery for heart problems. It is often considered as an option for patients with last-stage congestive heart failure (CHF) who are expected to have less than 1 year to live in case of non-transplant and who are not eligible for or have not been supported by general medical therapy. Moreover, most candidates are exempted from other surgical options because of the worsening condition of the heart.


In the recent times, a majority of people choose to go for the heart transplant in India due to lower cost and impressive success rate. There are many renowned cardiac centers and cardiac surgeons in India that claim to provide exemplary heart 
care to people of all ages and types.

When it comes to going for a heart transplant in India, there are two major things- eligibility determination and candidacy evaluation. In case of a heart transplant, finding the right donor of the heart is quite difficult. The heart must be given by a person who is brain-dead but is still on life support. The donor heart must be in a normal condition without disease and must be matched as closely as possible to your blood and /or tissue type to reduce the chance that your body will reject it.

Being a big medical procedure, heart transplantation carries a high degree of risk and therefore it should be managed by expert surgeons who are backed by years of expertise in the procedure. This is where India enjoys a distinctive edge as its surgeons are highly experienced and backed by impressive success record. Moreover, getting the procedure done here is quite affordable as compared to western countries.

Precise monitoring, treatment, and timely medical care can prevent or help manage some of the risks associated with heart transplantation.

  • In addition, India has some of the most experienced cardiac centers in the world offering multiple organ transplantations.
  • The cardiac surgeons in India collaborate with other department and transplant surgeons to perform heart-lung, heart-liver, heart-kidney-pancreas combinations.
  • The outlook for patients who have heart transplants in India is superb -- the results are among the best in the country.
  • The region has a long and impressive history of providing exemplary transplant care, and they continue to build upon their success through surgical invention and world-class medical care.
  • End-stage heart failure is a medical disorder in which the heart muscle is failing harshly in its endeavor to pump blood all across the body. It also means that other treatments are no longer found effective. End-stage heart failure is the last stage of heart failure.

Notwithstanding its name, an evaluation of heart failure does not indicate that the heart is on the verge of stopped beating. The term failure means the heart muscle is unable to pump blood usually because it is damaged or extremely weak, or both.

Some causes of heart failure include:

  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI).
  • Viral infection of the heart muscle.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart valve disease.
  • Heart defects present at birth (congenital).
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
  • High blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
  • Alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Heart muscle is enlarged, thick, and stiff (cardiomyopathy)
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)

Alike any surgery, complications may happen. Possible risks of a heart transplant may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding during or after the surgery
  • Blood clots that can source heart attack, stroke, or lung problems
  • Breathing concerns
  • Kidney failure
  • Coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV). This is a problem with the blood vessels that transfer blood to the heart muscle itself. They get thick and hard. This can lead to serious heart muscle damage.
  • Failure of the donor's heart
  • Death

Not every individual is ideal for a heart transplant. Due to a great variety of information required to know if an individual is eligible for transplant, a transplant team will carry out the evaluation. This team may include a transplant surgeon, a transplant cardiologist (doctor specializing in the treatment of the heart), nurse practitioners or physician assistants, one or more transplant nurses, a social worker, and a psychiatrist or psychologist. Other team members may involve a dietitian, a chaplain, hospital administrator, and an anesthesiologist.

The Surgery

A heart transplant is performed through open heart surgery and a hospital stay. Procedures may differ depending on the condition of the patient and healthcare provider's practice.

Typically, a heart transplant follows this process:

  • The patient will be asked to detach any jewelry or other elements that may cause interference with the procedure.
     
  • A healthcare professional will be being an intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm to give medicine and to give IV fluids. Extra catheters will be put in blood vessels in your neck and wrist to check the status of the heart and blood pressure and to have blood samples. Other locations for the additional catheters include the under the collarbone and the groin.
     
  • A soft, flexible tube (Foley catheter) will be injected into your bladder to drain urine.
     
  • A tube will be put through your mouth or nose into your stomach to take out stomach fluids.
     
  • If there are large amounts of hair on your chest, they need to be shaved.
     
  • Heart transplant surgery will be performed while the patient in a deep asleep (under general anesthesia). Once you are asleep, a breathing tube will be put through your mouth into your lungs. The tube will be linked to a machine (ventilator) that will breathe for you during the transplant procedure.
     
  • The anesthesiologist will closely monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level during the surgery.
     
  • The skin over the chest will be wiped with an antiseptic solution.
     
  • The surgeon will make a cut (incision) down the center of your chest from just below Adam's apple to just above the navel.
     
  • The surgeon will cut the breastbone (sternum) in half. He will put aside the two halves of the breastbone and tear them apart to reach your heart.
     
  • The surgeon will put tubes into the chest so that your blood can be pumped through the body by a heart-lung (cardiopulmonary bypass) machine while your heart is stopped and replaced.
     
  • Once the blood has been totally unfocused into the bypass machine and is being pumped by the machine, the doctor will eliminate the diseased heart.
     
  • The surgeons will stitch the donor heart into place. Once the replaced heart is in place, he or she will attach the blood vessels precisely to ensure zero leakage.
     
  • When the new heart is fully fixed, the blood circulating through the bypass machine will be allowed back into the heart and the tubes to the machine are detached. A surgeon will shock the heart with small paddles to reboot the heartbeat.
     
  • Once the new heart starts beating, the healthcare team will monitor the heart to see how it’s working and make sure there are no leaks.
     
  • Wires for pacing may be placed into the heart. The surgeon can link these wires to a pacemaker external of the body for a short time to pace your new heart, if required, during the initial recovery period.
     
  • The surgeon will relink the sternum and sew it together using small wires.
     
  • The surgeon will sew the skin over the sternum back together. Tubes will be put into the chest to take out blood and other fluids from around the heart. These tubes will be attached to a suction device to drain fluids away from the heart as it recovers.
     
  • A sterile bandage or dressing will be used.

So, best heart transplant hospitals in India are there providing the exemplary level of treatment at the minimum possible cost.

 

 

 

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