Heart transplant refers to a type of surgery that involves the replacement of a diseased heart with a healthy heart, generally from a deceased donor, to improve the quality of life and increase lifespan.
A heart transplant may be required in any of the below conditions:
- A weakening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
- Coronary artery disease,
- Heart valve disease
- A heart problem you're born with (congenital heart defect)
- Dangerous recurring abnormal heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias) not controlled by other treatments
- Failure of a previous heart transplant
A donor-recipient match is generally made on the following factors:
- Blood type
- Size of the donor's heart
- Medical needs of the potential recipient
- Antibodies of the recipient
- Time spent on the waiting list by the recipient
A successful transplant will dramatically improve the signs as well as symptoms of heart disease. Most of the transplant recipients can perform the same physical activities & enjoy the same quality of life as those without transplants.
Most patients, generally, do not report a lot of pain after heart transplant surgery. The incision does cause pain or discomfort when you cough.
A heart transplant is usually considered as a complex as well as a risky procedure. Possible complications include:
- The immune system rejects and attacks the transplanted heart as it recognises the transplanted heart as a foreign object
- The donated heart fails to work properly
- Narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart
- Side effects from the immunosuppressant medication, such as increased vulnerability to infections, weight gain and kidney problems