Heart transplant surgery is an open heart surgery during which medical team consisting cardiologist and other doctors perform a heart transplantation for people whose own hearts are severely weakened by heart diseases. Those heart diseases may include congestive heart failures, repeating heart attacks and other heart failure symptoms.
Heart transplant procedure is a costly one and as long as it is not funded by public or private health insurance – unaffordable for most of the potential patients. For this reason, more and more people decide to undergo heart transplant surgery abroad, where the price of this heart surgery is much lower.
Heart Transplant Candidates
Candidates for heart transplantation are people who suffer from various heart diseases such as constant heart attacks and heart failure and their cardiologists are not optimistic about their chances to survive long. In such a case, a heart transplant procedure may save life and guarantee long years of good quality living with their families.
Am I Suitable for Heart Transplant?
A heart transplant is a serious, often dangerous open heart surgery and is not a solution to all heart diseases. Heart transplantation is recommended only when successive heart failures lead to severe heart disability and it is known that it will not continue to function for long. Additionally, cardiologists need to estimate whether a patient will survive a heart transplant procedure.
Preparing for Heart Transplant
Candidates for heart transplant surgery need to undergo a series of tests, through which doctors will find out if the heart transplant procedure is safe for them. Additionally, medical team who will perform heart transplantation searches for cancer cells since cancer makes this open heart surgery impossible.
In order to perform a heart transplant surgery, there is a need for a heart donor with compatible blood group. Heart donors are usually people with brain death, who themselves or whose families agreed for heart transplantation. Since there are more heart transplant patients than potential heart donors, some patients are unable to find a proper heart transplant in time.
How is Heart Transplant Performed?
The heart transplant procedure has usually three stages.
In the first stage of heart transplantation, a cardiologist together with medical team removes the heart from heart donor’s body. Then, a heart transplant needs to be transplanted within hours from removal and be kept on ice until the last phase starts.
In the second stage of heart transplant surgery, cardiologist removes the old heart from heart transplant patient’s body and plugs the patient to a machine which functions as a heart until the heart transplantation process is finished.
In the third, last stage, doctors place heart from the heart donor into heart transplant patient’s body and connect it with the blood circulation system. Then, the operation site is closed and this hard, although quite simple, open heart surgery is finished.
Heart Transplant Summary
Duration of Operation
Number of Trips Abroad
Back to Sports
Up to a case
Back to Work
Up to a case
Heart Transplant Recovery
For the first day or two, heart transplant patients are kept in intensive care in the case something goes wrong with the donor heart. Then, they are moved to normal rooms. Patients after heart transplant procedure usually stay in the hospital for up to a week and then they are being let home.
Heart transplant recovery is also a time to get used to a set of medicines one needs to take to avoid heart transplant rejection as well as other post-operational complications.
Some heart transplant patients decide to not work after the heart transplant surgery. However, some research results suggest that working after heart transplantation is perfectly normal and more than that – probably healthier for heart transplant patients.
Heart Transplant Risks and Complications
There are many possible complications of heart transplantation since it is a serious open heart surgery involving organ transplantation. To the most important risks belong heart transplant rejection. A set of immunosuppressing drugs have a task to prevent transplant rejection but still, they may not be strong enough. In such a case a new heart transplant or other solutions may be discussed. Other risks of heart transplantation include infections, heart diseases including heart failure and cardiovascular disease, as well as damage to other vital organs caused by medicines routinely prescribed to heart transplant patients.
Heart Transplant Side Effects
To major side effects of heart transplant surgery belong lowered immunity to infections caused by medicines which are supposed to keep the heart transplant patients’ bodies from rejecting donor hearts.
Heart Transplant Success Rates
As new techniques of heart transplant surgery and new generations of medicines are developed, the heart transplant success rate continues to grow. An average heart transplant life expectancy is as high as 9 years and grows. 1-year heart transplant success rate is at 87%, while 5-years heart transplant success rate is estimated to be 57%.