A heart transplant is a surgical procedure where a diseased heart is removed from a person and replaced with a donor heart. During the heart transplant, a mechanical pump circulates blood through the body while the diseased heart is being removed. The surgeon then connects the donor heart to the major blood vessels in the body and also hooks the heart up to wires that are temporarily controlling the heartbeat. This heart transplant surgery takes several hours. A heart transplant is one of the most difficult operations there is nowadays. Heart transplant cost is extremely high and there are significant risks associated with a heart transplant procedure as well.
Heart transplant facts include certain criteria and conditions to be fulfilled before you are deemed eligible for a heart transplant.
Age: This procedure is not carried out for people who are more than 65 years of age.
Severity of condition: The person will have to show documented proof that the heart disease he/she is suffering from leaves no option other than a heart transplant. For instance if a person is suffering from coronary heart disease, congenital heart disease, infiltrative cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy, vulvular heart disease and so on transplant will be a last step and may be recommended in these cases.
If several hospitalizations are carried out for heart failure and heart attacks.
If there is a need for a ventricular device or an artificial heart to support circulation.
Once the above conditions have been met, you will have to wait for a heart donor. There is a heart transplant list and who gets a heart is decided based on the time on the wait list, the severity of the condition and the geographical distance between the hospital and the donor center. You may have to wait a year or even longer for a donor heart.
Once the heart transplant surgery is over, the surgeon will give the patient powerful immunosuppressants. You will have to stay in hospital for at least two weeks after you have your heart transplant. Longer stays may be required if you take long to recover or have complications from the surgery. You may also start a cardiac rehabilitation program while in hospital as long term heart failure is usually present in heart transplant patients.
Heart transplant life expectancy is influenced by the age, patient compliance, the year in which you had the transplant and the immunological match of the donor to the recipient.