What Is Heart Transplant?
A heart transplant is a surgical procedure to replace a failing or diseased heart with a healthy heart donated by a donor. It is often recommended when every other procedure like medications or opting for a healthy lifestyle have failed.
During this surgery, the surgeon removes the diseased heart and replaces it with a mechanical pump to keep the blood flowing. The mechanical pump is responsible for blood circulation in the body until the surgeon connects the donor’s heart to replace the patient’s heart.
Who Makes the Best Candidate for Heart Transplant?
A heart transplant is often a choice when every other procedure has failed to respond and survival with the existing condition has become impossible. People who suffer from heart failure due to any reason make the best candidate for heart transplant. Some common causes of heart failure are:
- Congenital heart defects
- Heart valve disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
A General Surgeon in Karachi considers some other aspects as well before he gives a heads up for heart transplant. Those factors are:
- Age: In most cases, the preferred age for people going through heart transplant is less than 65 years.
- Health conditions: The patient doesn’t have any other health conditions that may lead to failure of the transplant or deteriorate patient’s condition further. And they also don’t have any history of organ failure.
- Commitment: Patient is willing to commit to the lifestyle changes that follow after the heart transplant. For example, they are ready to quit smoking, take medications, and follow a healthy lifestyle.
How Doctors Will Prepare You for Heart Transplant?
Doctors prepare patients for a heart transplant by performing some tests. It is because they need to rule out the possibility of any other issue beforehand, thus they recommend following diagnostic procedures:
- Blood tests to find a good donor match
- Psychological evaluation to check if patients is ready for the surgery
- Social evaluation to check if patients situation allows them to go for a heart transplant
- Diagnostics tests to assess overall health condition.
- Vaccinations to prepare patients for a new heart.
If you have any questions about your heart transplant surgery, you can visit a good General Surgeon in Islamabad to get all your answers.
What Is the Procedure of a Heart Transplant?
The process of a heart transplant goes like:
- First and foremost patients will be put under general anesthesia and an anesthesiologist will watch their heart rate and blood pressure during the surgery.
- After patients loses consciousness, a surgeon will make an incision down the chest and split breast bone in half.
- Then they will link the arteries to a heart-lung bypass machine to pump the blood.
- Meanwhile a ventilator machine will help the patient in breathing.
- Then, the surgeon will sew the front part of the donor’s heart and attach major blood vessels to it.
- After they are done replacing the heart they will close the incision with the help of stitches.
- Patient will then be shifted to a recovery room until they gain consciousness back.
- If the heart rate stays normal, the patient will be shifted to a normal hospital room.
- From there they will be discharged in two to three days according to their condition.
What Are the Risk Factors of a Heart Transplant?
Just like any other surgery, a heart transplant has some risks associated with it too. Those risks are:
- Rejection of the donor heart: One of the common issues with a heart transplant is a rejection of the donor’s heart. Your body is designed to fight against any foreign object entering. So in some cases it may not accept the donor’s heart. To prevent this situation, patients are given immunosuppressants before their surgery.
- Infection: Immunosuppressants reduce your body’s ability to fight infections. Thus, as a side effect, you may suffer from infections, or in worst cases, even cancer.
- Kidney Failure: Immunosuppressants can cause serious damage to your kidneys and can lead to kidney failure in some cases.
- Issues with arteries: The walls of the arteries can turn thick or hard after your heart is transplanted. Thus, they may lead to complications like heart attack or heart failure.
- Surgery Complications: Some other risks that come along with heart transplants are excessive bleeding, breathing issues, blood clotting, and death.