An Introduction to Heart Transplant
Why are Heart Transplants performed?
A heart transplant is surgery to remove a person’s diseased heart and replace it with a healthy heart from a deceased donor. Most heart transplants are done on patients who have end-stage heart failure. Heart failure is a condition which the heart is damaged or become weak. As a result, it can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. in “End-stage” means the condition is so severe that all treatments, other than a heart transplant, have failed.
Heart Transplant is done as a life-saving measure for end-stage heart failure. Survival rates for people receiving heart transplants have improved. After the surgery, the most heart transplant patients can return to their normal levels of activity.
What should I know before getting a Heart Transplant?
The heart transplant process begins when doctors refer a patient who has end-stage heart failure to a heart transplant centre. The Heart Transplant Team at the centre assess the patient whether he/ she is eligible for the surgery. If the patient is found fit to undergo transplant, then he/ she will be placed on a waiting list for a heart donor. Heart Transplant surgery is done when a suitable donor heart is found. Post heart transplant, the patient is started on life-long health care plan. The plan involves multiple medicines and frequent medical check-ups.
Who is a candidate for Heart Transplant?
Heart Transplant is offered when other treatment/ interventions for heart ailments have not worked, leading to heart failure. In adults, heart failure can be caused by several conditions, including:
- Weakening of Heart Muscle (Cardiomyopathy) Coronary Artery Disease
- Heart Valve Disease
- Heart problems you are born with (congenital heart defects)
- Dangerous recurring abnormal heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias) not controlled by other treatments.
- Failure of previous Heart Transplant
Inputs by Dr. Sanjeev Jadhav, Consultant Cardio-Vascular & Thoracic, Heart & Lung Transplant Surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.