A heart transplant is basically a surgical procedure that is carried out to treat the gravest cases of heart disease. This is a treatment option for people who are in the last stages of heart failure and for whom medication, lifestyle changes, and less invasive procedures haven't succeeded. People must meet specific criteria to be considered a candidate for the procedure.
A heart transplant is a viable option for those who’ve experienced heart disease or heart failure due to a variety of causes, including:
Though one could have one of the given conditions, there are still various factors that are used to ascertain the candidacy, such as the following:
Heart transplant surgery lasts for approximately four hours. During that period, the patient is placed on a heart-lung machine to keep blood circulating throughout the body. The surgeon will detach the heart, leaving the pulmonary vein openings and the back wall of the left atrium intact. They’ll do this to prepare the patient’s body to receive the new heart.
Once the doctor stitches the donor heart into place and the heart begins beating, the patient will be removed from the heart-lung machine. In most cases, the new heart will begin to beat as soon as blood flow is restored to it. But, sometimes an electric shock is required to start a heartbeat.
Most people leave the hospital within about four weeks of the operation, but depending on the condition, the patient may need to stay longer in hospital.
In the first few months after your surgery, you will need to spend a lot of time visiting the hospital. Your transplant team will talk to you about practical arrangements for after your surgery.
Although you will be weak after the operation, recovery can be very quick. It is important to build up your level of activity gradually. You should avoid activities involving pushing, pulling or heavy lifting until your breastbone is fully healed, which can take up to three or four months.
Donor hearts may emerge from anywhere in the country. A team of transplantation experts tries to reduce as much as possible the amount of time between removing the heart from the donor and transplanting it into you.
When considering whether a heart is a good match, the team will look at the quality of the heart, the size, and importantly, how well it matches your blood and tissue type.
If you are considered suitable for a heart treatment in India, you will be added to the transplant waiting list. Once you are on the list, a suitable heart may come along within a few days or it may take many months or even years.
Unfortunately, suitable hearts do not become available for everyone and only 8 out of 10 people receive the heart transplant they require. Around half the people accepted onto the heart transplant waiting list receive a transplant within three years.
There can be other complications after a heart transplant. While most of the complications are manageable, the transplant team will monitor you closely during this time.
The most common complications are: