Heart Transplant

Definition

This is surgery to remove a severely diseased and failing heart. It is replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased donor.
Normal Heart and Heart With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

A heart transplant is done if you have:
  • End stage heart disease that is life threatening and cannot be fixed with medication or other surgeries, but you are in otherwise good health—This is most often due to cardiomyopathy , which is a disease of the heart muscle, along with severe congestive heart failure.
  • Severe coronary artery disease that cannot be fixed with medication or other surgeries
  • Congenital heart defects that cannot be fixed with medication or other surgeries
  • Valvular defects that cannot be fixed with medication or other surgeries—This condition makes it too hard for the heart to pump blood through the body.
  • Uncontrollable life-threatening irregular heart rhythms that cannot be fixed with medication or other surgeries

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have a heart transplant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
  • Infection
  • Rejection of the new heart
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Decreased brain function
  • Damage to other body organs, such as the kidneys
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Infection or cancer related to taking immunosuppressive medications
  • Death
More than 80% of heart transplant patients live for at least one year after surgery. Most return to normal activities, including work and exercise.People over 60 years old are at increased risk of complications. Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

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