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Heart Transplant

Published on May 24, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

A heart transplant is a procedure in which a failing heart is restored with a new and healthier donor heart. This article is a brief overview of a heart transplant.

Contents

What Is A Heart Transplant?

A heart transplant is a surgical operation wherein a completely unhealthy heart at the stage of failing is replaced and replenished with a healthy heart from a donor. A heart transplant is a treatment modality that is not very common. A heart transplant is generally reserved for those patients who are not in a condition to improve their cardiovascular system through medications or alternative surgeries.

The donor’s heart is a healthy and functioning heart approved by the patient who is donating and the family members. To mark a heart as a donor heart, two or more healthcare professionals need to declare the donor brain-dead. Following this, the patient expected to receive a heart is put on a waiting list. At last, a team of healthcare professionals makes the final decision to replace the patient’s heart via a heart transplant. Then, another set of healthcare providers run a series of tests in order to assure that the patient receiving the donor’s heart is otherwise healthy enough to go through the long process of a heart transplant.

Who Are the Right Candidates for a Heart Transplant?

Heart transplants are given a green signal for those patients with cardiovascular diseases who have tried multiple medication therapies as well as other surgical interventions to correct the functioning of their heart, but the result has always been negative. Heart failure is generally caused due to congenital cardiovascular defects or cardiomyopathy in children. It should be noted that several other organ transplants may be done parallel to a heart transplant. This is referred to as a multiorgan transplant and is performed on specific individuals who are suffering from non-treatable conditions. Such invasive procedures are only conducted at select medical setups with a multidisciplinary approach.

Mentioned below are the individuals who are said to be suitable candidates for a heart transplant:

What Are the Risks of a Heart Transplant?

Every procedure has risks. But performing surgery with great expertise always keeps the possibilities of dangers at bay.

Mentioned below are some of the dangers that may occur post or during a heart transplant surgery:

What Happens During a Heart Transplant?

A heart transplant is also called a cardiac transplant. Patients who are generally at the end-stage of heart failure undergo a heart transplant. On the other hand, patients who have had a failed cardiovascular surgery may also be eligible for a heart transplant. A heart transplant is a highly invasive and surgical operation that is performed strictly under a scheduled medical setup. It is never done as an emergency procedure.

Mentioned below are the steps that are carried out during a common heart transplant procedure.

What Are the Expected Results After a Heart Transplant?

The majority of the patients who receive a successful heart transplant live a good and high quality of life. Depending on the patient’s underlying condition as well as condition post the transplant, they may be given permission by their healthcare provider to resume most of their day-to-day tasks and activities. These also include sports and participation in specific instructed exercises. The appropriate physical activity that such patients are expected to perform should be discussed with the professional. Females should consult with their gynecologists as well as heart transplant specialists if being pregnant is a good choice post-heart transplant surgery. This is because certain medications prescribed post-heart transplant may not be suitable for pregnancy and may crop some complications for both the mother as well as the child. Survival rates of a heart transplant are based on numerous factors, and fortunately, the rate is continuously improving, according to worldwide statistics.

Conclusion:

A heart transplant is an invasive procedure that replaces a dying heart with a donor heart that is healthy and functioning. This procedure requires an interdisciplinary approach. Multiple tests are done before deciding to go with a heart transplant to make sure the candidate is the right fit. After the procedure is completed, diet adjustments are necessary after consulting a nutritions and a dietician so that the new heart functions as expected. Maintaining the right body mass index and regular exercise can aid in keeping severe complications away. Being physically active has proven to contribute to the control of blood pressure. Additionally, it reduces stress and strengthens the overall bones and muscles of the body. A heart transplant is a major procedure, but the chances of success are high with mandatory follow-up and cardiovascular health care strategies.

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Frequently Asked Questions


1.

How Long Can We Live After a Heart Transplant?

A patient who has undergone a heart transplant may expect to live for another ten to twenty years.

2.

Is Heart Transplant a Serious Surgery?

A heart transplant is a highly invasive and quite expensive as well as significant procedure that involves risks and complications.

3.

Does the Patient Remain Conscious While the Heart Is Being Transplanted?

Yes, the patient remains conscious and on ventilator support for many organs during an ongoing heart transplant surgery.

4.

How Long Is the Procedure of a Heart Transplant?

Depending on the severity and etiology of the disease, a heart transplant may last from four hours to eight hours.

5.

Are There Artificial Hearts?

Yes, there are several artificial hearts, but none of them have received approval internationally except for one.

6.

Are Artificial Hearts Permanent?

Artificial hearts are not permanent solutions and are a temporary solution before heart transplant surgery.

7.

What Are the Types of Heart Transplants?

Orthotopic and heterotopic approaches to heart transplant are the two ways the health care provider and the team may go ahead with the procedure.

8.

What Is the Minimum Age for a Heart Transplant?

As of today, a patient who was only six days old has become the youngest to receive a heart transplant.

9.

Can Children Require a Heart Transplant?

Yes, children who suffer from end-stage cardiovascular disease require a heart transplant.

10.

How Old Can a Patient Be to Not Undergo Heart Transplant?

As of today, the age beyond which a heart transplant is not suggested remains unclear and is dependent on the underlying condition of the patient.

11.

Is Age a Deciding Factor for a Heart Transplant?

Age is not one of the crucial factors in determining the treatment option for a heart transplant.

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Last reviewed at:
24 May 2022  -  4 min read

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