a. How do I kmow that I need a heart transplant?
The heart transplant of any patient is recommended by his cardiologist after examining all the severities of the present clinical conditions of the heart.
b. Will the transplant change my life?
Yes, but to an extent. The patients after the heart transplant are restricted to certain diets (your cardiologist will brief you about the same). Also smoking and vigorous physical activities are prohibited. The patients after after the heart transplant have to make sure that they do not expose themselves to any kind of infections. You have to take your medications regularly without fail and also you are supposed to present regularly for the health examinations at the hospital.
c. Is the Heart Transplant Surgery very complicated?
It depends upon the clinical conditions of the patient. The cardiologist examines the patient very carefully and then only recommends him for the transplant. You are requested to share each and every detail related to your physical condition with your doctor so that he can give you the best consultation.
d. How long will I stay in the hospital after the transplant?
That again depends case to case. The minimum duration for stay in the hospital after the transplant is 10 days, However it may take two weeks or Transplant Recipients. You can also look for additional value added services provided by the center like travel, food and accomodations etc.
j. How long do I have to wait for the donor heart?
The transplant center registers you on its waiting list after determining you as a candidate for heart transplant. The medical team of the transplant centre keeps a regular check on your heart and other organs throughout the time you are on waiting list. It again depends upon the availibility of the donor heart and there can be no time limit commited for the wait. Meanwhile, if the ongoing treatment fails, the doctors may prescribe you a special device which is VAD (ventricular assist device). This helps you in gaining sometime till the time donor heart is available.
After the donor heart is available, following factors are considerd to make the match
- Blood group
- Antibodies developed by the recipient
- Size of the donor organ
- Time taken on the waiting list
- Medical criticality of the recipient
Immidiately before the Transplant surgery:
A heart transplant has to be done after the four hours of the removal of the organ from the donor so that it can remain functional. The hearts are first provided to the nearest transplant centers and to those at certain distances thereafter. The transplant center will inform you through message or calling whenever the donor heart is availible. You have a limited time after being informed about the availibility of the organ and you have to make quick decision whether to accept or decline the transplantation so that the organ must be provided to anothet needy recipient. You are advised to pack more if the patient's condition is complicated. You are recommended to stay near the hospital for first six month so that it could ease the regular visits for post transplant examinations.
e. Will I have pain post surgery?
As a matter of fact, most patients do not come up with complains of severe pain after the surgery but you may feel discomfort or pain while coughing beacuse of the incision. The medications and special instructions are given to the patient in order to reduce the pain.
f. How sooner can I return back to normal routine?
You can return back to your normal routine such as work or exercise after three months, however age and pre existing clinical problems may effect the span of recovery. You are advised to consult your doctor before recoiling your normal day to day activities.
g. Can my family stay with me?
Yes, your family can stay with you but not in the intensive care unit. A nurse or attendant from the hospital will always be there to assist you for any need. However your attendant from the family may stay in the guest room or common hall availible in the hospital.
h. What kind of medicines are given after the heart transplant?
There are certain anti rejection or immunosuppresive medicines which are given to the patient post surgery. Apart from this, few more medicines are given to the patient to protect the body from external and internal infections
i. How do I search for the best heart transplant center?
While assessing for a good heart transplant center, you have to study the number of heart transplants that hospital ot transplant center performs each year. You can measure the statistics of the transplant centre on the web through a database preserved and managed by Scientific Registry of everything in advance that you need while your stay in hospital in order to save time
k. What happens if the rejection happens after the transplant?
The medications for anti rejection is provided to the patient. But if the complication persists for a longer time after the heart transplantation has been done, the patient is advised to have another heart transplant.
The heart transplant is a Surgical procedure which is done to remove an infected or damaged heart and replace it with a healthy heart of the donor.
Why it is done?
- If your heart is severely damaged after single or multiple heart attacks.
- Acute heart attack where surgery, treatments and medicines dont work
- Congenital heart defects that cannot be repaired with surgery.
- Irregular heartbeats that do not react to any other treatment or medication.
It must not be done to:
- a. Age group older than 65 years
- b. Malnourished people
- c. Those who had gone through Dementia or severe stroke
- d. Those who have underwent cancer treatment less than 2 years ago
- e. Those who have active infections of HIV and Hepatitis
- f. Those who have insulin dependant diabetes and malfunctioning of Failure of the lungs and kidneys
- Rejection of the transplanted heart
- Heart attacks and heart rhythm complications
- Acute diseases of coronary artery
After the Transplant:
The patient is supposed to stay in the hospital from one to three weeks after the heart transplant is done. For The first 48 hours, the patient is kept in ICU (Intensive care unit). For the first few days after the transplant is performed, the patient is recommended to follow up his cardiologist regularly to make sure that the transplanted heart is working well and is uncontaminated.
It may take 3 months for the recovery but regular check ups, ECGs, and x-rays continues for several years. The anti rejection medications must be taken very carefully in order to sustain the normal condition.
The biopsy of the heart muscle is performed every month for the first six to twelve months and then it becomes less often.
However the the routine physical life may be regained within three to six months, but the patient is recommended not to do vigorous activities. The patient needs to ensure that he doesn't develops coronary disease after the transplant as he goes through cardiac catheterization every year. other organs such as kidney, liver, lungs etc.
g. Those who have no family support or can not continue post sugery treatments and check ups
h. Those who have any other health realated complications
How it is done?
The patient is examined thoroughly by the team of proficient cardiologists and physicians to make sure that he/she is fit enough to undergo transplant. Thereafter the patient is given general anesthesia to undergo a deep sleep. After that, an incision is made through the chestbone to execue the surgery further. Meanwhile the surgeon performs the surgery, a heart-lung bypass machine is used to circulate the blood and oxygen in the patient's body
The infected heart is detached and the healthy heart of the donor is stitched. Thereafter the heart-lung machine is removed and blood starts circulating through the transplanted heart.
- a. Breathing/Respiratory problem
- b. Allergic reactions to medications
- a. Blood Loss
- b. Further Infections
Other risks of transplant includes:
Bruises and damages due to anti-rejection medicines to the important organs of the body such as kidney, lungs and liver and also high cholestrol, weakening of the bones, diabetes, cancer etc due to the same. Blood clots