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Quick Guide to a Heart Transplant

Some people have a good heart, and some have a new heart! Since the first transplant was successfully done in 1967, heart failure is no longer the end of life. If you know someone with a terminal heart condition or a health enthusiast who likes knowing about the latest medical science advancements, you would surely want to read ahead. 
 

Here, we will discuss various aspects of a heart transplant to enlighten them with the information you have if someone needs it.
 

Conditions that require a heart transplant

Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart struggles to perform its primary function, i.e. pumping blood to all the body parts. Heart failure, as commonly misunderstood, does not mean that it is going to stop beating. Various conditions can lead to heart failure:

  • Congenital heart diseases
  • Cardiomyopathy (thickness, stiffness, and enlargement of the heart muscle)
  • Heart Attack
  • Viral infection of the heart muscle (Endocarditis & myocarditis)
  • Valvular diseases of the heart
  • Irregular heartbeat (Arrhythmia)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Anaemia or low haemoglobin
  • Excessive alcohol or drugs intake
  • Chronic lung diseases such as emphysema or chronic obstructive lung disease

Process of obtaining a heart

Not everyone with heart failure is a candidate for a heart transplant. There are several steps before you undergo the actual heart transplant surgery. Before the process of heart transplant surgery in India starts, you will need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation at the transplant centre. The transplant team will collectively review all the information regarding your medical history, physical exam findings, your diagnostic test results for deciding your eligibility for a heart transplant. Fortunately, if you are declared eligible for a heart transplant, your name will be placed on a waiting list. The higher your rank on the waiting list, the sooner you will receive your donor’s heart.
 

The procedure of a heart transplant

Let’s assume that you have found a matching donor whose heart will be transferred to yours, you will be informed about it, and the transplant team shall apprise you with all the details of the surgery. You will be explained which medicines you can take and what precautions shall be required before and after the procedure. 
 

A heart transplant surgery is an open-heart surgery performed while you are in a deep sleep under the influence of general anaesthesia. Your heart is disconnected from the blood vessels and is replaced with the donor’s heart. A donor’s heart received from a deceased person can only be preserved for 4 hours, so the window period for performing the surgery is significantly less. 
 

Life after a heart transplant

After a successful heart transplant surgery in India, you will have to stay in the hospital until your condition is stabilised. After that, you will be discharged from the hospital, but you need to take good care of yourself. At this time, you would require unconditional support from your family and friends. You will have to take your medications on time and take a proper diet advised by a nutritionist preferably. Most patients are advised to undergo a rehabilitation process wherein they are helped to undertake the activities of daily living on their own. 
 

The initial few months after the transplant is crucial as there are chances of rejection of the new heart. The patient and their family have to be vigilant for the appearance of warning signs of rejection such as breathlessness, tiredness, and fever in a deep sleep so that the doctor can be contacted immediately for medical intervention. In the long term, you will resume your routine and your work with a routine of regular checkups. 
 

The success rate of a heart transplant surgery in India

A heart transplant surgery certainly adds years to your life. The success rate of a heart transplant in India varies between 80 - 90%. You will be able to live a good quality of life if you ensure to take the prescribed medications, visit your doctor regularly for follow-up, and adopt adequate lifestyle changes.

Synopsis

The experts at FindingDoc have been helping patients around the globe overcome their health problems. If you have someone in your family or friend circle who needs a heart transplant or is looking for guidance, we would be more than happy to help. Feel free to contact us at connect@findingdoc.com

Cheers to a healthy and happy heart!