|Normal Heart and Heart With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy|
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Reasons for Procedure
- 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
- Rejection of the new heart
- Coronary artery disease
- Blood clots
- 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
- Lung disease
- Poor circulation
- Kidney or liver disease
- 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
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Your doctor will monitor your health to make sure that you are ready for the heart transplant.
- Talk to your doctor about all medications you are taking. You may be asked to stop taking some medications before surgery.
- Do not take over-the-counter medication without checking with your doctor.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
- Arrange for help at home after the surgery.
- Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- Physical exam
- Cardiac catheterization
- Echocardiogram —to examine the size, shape, and motion of your heart
- Identify your blood and tissue type
- Tests to exclude diseases in other organ systems that may prevent you from receiving a transplant
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
- Heart monitor
- Pacing wires used to help the heart beat normally
- Tubes connected to a machine that helps drain excess blood and air
- Breathing tube, until you can breathe on your own
- Medications to support heart function
- An IV
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Breathe deeply and cough 10-20 times every hour.
- Take immunosuppressive drugs—You will likely need to take these for the rest of your life. These drugs reduce the chance that your body will reject the new heart.
- Take measures to prevent blood clots, such as wearing compression stockings
- Have blood tests
- Have persistent fever
- Have poor heart function
- Do not feel well
- Return as prescribed by your transplant cardiologist for follow up biopsies.
- Work with a physical therapist. Keep in mind that your new heart will respond slowly to increases in physical activity.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- 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
Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients http://www.srtr.org
Transplant Living http://www.transplantliving.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca
Heart transplant. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/CareTreatmentforCongenitalHeartDefects/Heart-Transplant%5FUCM%5F307731%5FArticle.jsp. Updated September 9, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2014.
What is a heart transplant? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ht/ht%5Fwhatis.html. Updated January 3, 2012. Accessed September 30, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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