Heart Transplant

This is surgery to remove a severely diseased and failing heart. It is replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased donor.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
    • Changes in sensation, movement, or circulation in your arms or legs
    • Changes in the location, type, or severity of pain
    • Chest pain, pressure, or a return of your previous heart pain
    • Fast or irregular heart rate
    • Pain that does not improve with the medications you have been given
    • Cough or shortness of breath
    • Coughing up blood
    • Severe nausea or vomiting
    • Sudden headache or feeling faint
    • Waking up at night due to being short of breath
    • Excessive tiredness, swelling of feet
    • Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine


    In case of an emergency,
    get medical care right away
    .

  • 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.

  • What to Expect

  • 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.

    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Age: 60 or older
    • Lung disease
    • Poor circulation
    • Kidney or liver disease
    • Smoking

    • Presence of serious active infection, such as
      pneumonia
      or
      tuberculosis

    • Treatment for
      cancer
      within the past five years
    • Fatigue and malnourishment

    • Uncontrolled
      diabetes

    • Previous
      stroke
      or other damage to the blood vessels of the brain

    • Continued
      substance abuse
      or
      alcohol abuse
    • Autoimmune disease

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.