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What to Expect Before, During and After Heart Transplant?

Heart Care

Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery

17 November, 2022

A heart transplant is a surgical procedure where a person's unhealthy heart is removed and replaced with a healthy heart from an organ donor. In terms of the entire cardiovascular system that is present in the human body, the heart is regarded as the most crucial organ. Along with pumping blood, it works with other internal organs to control the body's blood pressure and heart rate. If other treatments for your weakening heart are failing, you might need a heart transplant. Manipal Hospital is one of the best hospitals in India for heart transplantation. Patients from various countries including Bangladesh, Maldives, Srilanka, Qatar, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cameroon, Kenya, and Iraq visit our hospitals for heart transplants. 

At Manipal Hospitals, our expert surgeons and cardiologists in the Organ Transplantation department perform the most complex heart transplants with an impressive success rate. We follow a multi-disciplinary approach where experts from different concerned departments brainstorm together and come up with the best solution for heart transplants. Also, we provide treatments of international standards at our facilities which makes us one of the best hospitals for heart transplants in India for international patients. 

Who Needs Heart Transplantation?

A heart transplant becomes necessary for patients with significant heart failure, where the heart is having trouble pumping enough blood around the body. Heart failure can be caused due to coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy or congenital heart disease. A heart transplant is the last treatment option for patients whose condition hasn't improved enough with medications or other surgeries. Visit Manipal Hospitals Global for cardiothoracic vascular surgery treatment in India

Why Heart Transplant Is Needed?

Heart transplants are needed when all the treatment options have not worked and the patient is suffering from heart failure. There may be various reasons for heart failure including

  1. A weakening of the heart muscle

  2. Coronary artery disease

  3. Heart valve disease

  4. Congenital heart defect

  5. Failure of a previous heart transplant

Why Manipal Hospitals? 

Unlike other medical and surgical procedures, heart transplantation involves more than just diagnosis and treatment. The procedure entails assessing the patient's health as a candidate for heart transplantation, compatibility with the donor, and financial preparations. It's clearly not easy, and the team of organ transplant surgeons and support staff needs to be accurate, precise, and skilled. Due to our domain expertise, abilities, and training, Manipal Hospital is the best heart transplant hospital since we have the knowledge and experience to conduct both paediatric and adult heart transplants. We also guarantee the patient's total safety. Some things that set us apart from others are:

  1. Our facilities are equipped with advanced transplant procedures and highly experienced medical staff.

  2. Heart transplant department is fully assisted by world-class infrastructure, well-equipped laboratories and blood transfusion services.

  3. The transplantation facility is made available at half the cost of that in developed nations.

Some notable facilities available at Manipal Hospital for a heart transplant are:

  • Latest equipment for testing and surgery

  • Echocardiogram

  • Electrocardiogram

  • Dedicated medical and paramedical staff

  • World-class post-surgical care

  • Follow-up after surgery

Facilities for international patients: For international patients, we offer various facilities to ensure that they have a comfortable stay here. Some of these facilities are:

  1. Visa assistance

  2. Insurance and billing assistance

  3. Cost estimation

  4. Local food and cuisine

  5. Hotel and stay accommodation

  6. Language translators

  7. Post-surgical treatment advice

During a heart transplant procedure, the cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon replaces the diseased heart with a new healthy heart. A cardiac rehabilitation programme is used to aid the patients' post-surgery recovery. Under the guidance of medical staff, the rehabilitation programme enables a quicker recovery. To know more, consult with our cardiovascular surgeon in India.

Patient Success Stories

Chandrashekhar: Chandrashekhar is a new man after nearly 4 years of struggle. He visited Manipal Hospitals with the hope of betterment. Dr Devanand, our cardiologist suggested a heart transplant. He gave assurance of a successful surgery and relieved parents of their worry. Within a few days of the suggestion, Chandrashekhar underwent a heart transplant and had a speedy recovery from the surgery. Chandrashekhar's parents convey their heartfelt thanks to Dr Devanand for giving them hope and support and aiding the heart transplant and recovery. Watch the video below to know more. 

Arshad: Watch the inspiring story of how the miracle of organ donation saved the life of recent graduate Arshad. He had lived his entire life with the transposition of great arteries, but with the help of a team of highly qualified professionals and the expert guidance of Dr Devananda NS, HOD and Consultant, Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery and Heart Transplant, Manipal Hospitals Bangalore, he was given a new lease on life. Having faced multiple surgeries throughout his lifetime, the final challenge was the need for a heart transplant. Arshad’s life can now get back on track and he can make the most of his youth to build a bright and fruitful future for himself. 

What To Expect Before, During and After Heart Transplant?

The preparations for a heart transplant begin days or weeks before the patient receives the heart. A heart transplant is not suitable for everyone. So, the transplant team will first evaluate the patient and then proceed with the transplantation process. The evaluation process includes:

  • Psychological and social evaluation

Some psychological and social issues that are involved in organ transplants include stress, financial issues, and support from family or significant others. How you respond to the transplant can be significantly influenced by these factors. 

  • Blood tests

You will need blood tests to help find a good donor match and help improve the chances that the donor's heart will not be rejected.

  • Diagnostic tests

Tests are necessary to evaluate both your general health and your lungs. X-rays, ultrasound treatments, CT scans, pulmonary function tests (PFTs), and dental examinations are a few examples of these tests. Women may undergo mammography, gynaecological assessment, and a Pap test.

The patient will also receive a number of vaccinations in addition to these assessments to lower the risk of contracting infections that could harm the transplanted heart.

Before Transplant

  1. Your doctor will walk you through the process and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

  2. You will be required to sign a consent document giving authorization for the procedure. Ask questions if anything on the form is unclear after carefully reading it.

  3. Once you've been informed that a heart is now available, you shouldn't consume any food or liquids (fast).

  4. Medicine to promote relaxation might be administered (sedative).

  5. Your healthcare professional can ask you to make other special preparations based on your health.

During Transplant

A heart transplant generally follows this process:

  1. A healthcare professional will start an intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm to inject medicine and to give IV fluids. In order to draw blood samples and monitor the health of your heart and blood pressure, more catheters will be inserted into the blood arteries in your neck and wrist. Book an appointment today to get the best treatment facilities.

  2. To drain your bladder of urine, a soft, flexible tube called a Foley catheter will be inserted.

  3. To drain stomach fluids, a tube will be inserted via your mouth or nose and into your stomach.

  4. Throughout the procedure, the anesthesiologist will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level.

  5. The surgeon will create an incision that runs from just below Adam's apple to just above the navel in the middle of your chest. The breastbone (sternum) will be split in two by the surgeon. He or she will divide the breastbone's two parts and spread them apart to get at your heart.

  6. The surgeon will insert tubes into your chest to allow a heart-lung (cardiopulmonary bypass) machine to flow blood through your body while your heart is halted and replaced. Your doctor will remove the damaged heart once all blood has been entirely redirected into the bypass machine and is being pumped by the machine.

  7. The donor heart will be stitched into position by the surgeon. He or she will carefully join the blood vessels after placing your replacement heart to prevent leaks. The blood flowing via the bypass machine will be allowed back into the heart once your replacement heart is properly integrated, and the tubes to the machine will be taken out. To restart the heartbeat, your surgeon will shock it with tiny paddles.

  8. The heart may be wired for pacing. If necessary, your surgeon can temporarily connect these wires to a pacemaker outside of your body to pace your new heart during the initial phase of recuperation. The sternum will be stitched back together by the surgeon using tiny wires. The skin covering the sternum will be repaired by the surgeon using sutures. To close the incision, he or she will use surgical staples or sutures.

  9. The fluids around your heart will be drained using tubes that will be inserted into your chest. As the heart heals, fluids will be drained from the organ through these tubes, which will be attached to a suction device.

  10. A sterile dressing or bandage will be used.

After transplant

  • The patient will be brought to the recovery room following the procedure, where they will be hooked up to a machine that reads their pressures and shows the information on their blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen level, and other pressures. After the heart transplant procedure, the patient will need to be in the hospital for 7 to 14 days, if not longer.

  • Until you are stable enough to breathe on your own, you will have a tube in your throat that links to a ventilator.

  • Every two hours after the breathing tube is removed, a nurse will assist you in taking deep breaths and coughing. It will hurt because of the soreness, but it is crucial that you do this to prevent mucus from building up in your lungs and potentially leading to pneumonia.

  • If you require pain medication, a nurse can administer it or you can administer it yourself by pressing a button on a tool attached to your IV line.

  • You'll get frequent blood draws to check on the health of your new heart and other bodily systems. These include your blood system, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

  • You can begin to drink liquids once your doctor removes the stomach and breathing tubes and you are stable. As you become more capable of handling solid foods, add more gradually.

  • You will be transferred from the intensive care unit (ICU) to a private room on a surgical unit or transplant unit once your healthcare professional determines you are ready. There, your healing will continue.

  • Your medical staff will make arrangements for you to return home and set up a follow-up appointment with your doctor.

What Are The Risks Associated With Heart Transplants?

While a heart transplant is usually considered a safe procedure and has a high success rate in Manipal Hospitals, some complications can occur during or after the procedure, such as:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding during or after the surgery

  • Blood clots that can cause heart attack, stroke, or lung problems

  • Breathing problems

  • Kidney failure

  • Vasculitis is caused by coronary allografts (CAV). The blood veins that deliver blood to the heart muscle itself are the issue here. They harden and thicken. This could seriously harm the cardiac muscle.

  • Failure of the donor's heart.

  • Death

Sometimes, the body may consider the new heart as a foreign object or tissue and reject it. Thus, for the transplanted heart to survive, medications must be taken by the patient as they trick the immune system into accepting the new kidney instead of attacking it.

Department of Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery

Manipal Hospitals Global