How long does a heart transplant surgery take?

Heart transplant surgery is perhaps one of the most complicated surgical procedures done on human body.

Thankfully, India is a hub for heart transplant surgery and every year international and local heart patients check into many reputed cardiac surgery hospitals for treatment of end stage heart failure.  When other treatments are not effective anymore for conditions like Myocardial Infarction, High blood pressure, Valve diseases and irregular heartbeat rate etc., a successful heart transplant surgery can extend the life span of the patient.

Many patients are curious to know about the heart transplant procedure and how long it takes to perform a heart transplant. Let’s understand the heart transplant procedure fully to know more about it.

Not everyone is a candidate for heart transplant

It is recommended to consult a heart transplant specialist to see if one is a suitable candidate for heart transplant surgery and understand the risks, success rate of the procedure to draw realistic expectations from the procedure.

The patients are reviewed on:

  • Health history
  • Run physical exams and diagnostic tests like CT scan, ultrasound and PFT etc
  • Brief about the procedure and risks based on the tests

How long does it take for heart transplant surgery?

A team of cardiac surgeons perform this open heart surgery that may take several hours. After the patient is given a general anesthesia, the surgeons connect him to a heart lung bypass machine to perform the heart transplant procedure.

A majorly invasive surgery, the chest is cut and the rib cage opened to access the deep seated heart.

The surgeons then remove the failing heart and replace it was a donors heart that often starts to beat the moment the major vessels are stitched to the heart.

Heart transplant involves different teams performing different tasks on the patient and the procedure can last for over 12 hours.

Risks with heart transplant surgery

Complications in surgery can change the expected outcome from a surgery; patients are explained about the unexpected risks like

  • Infection due to suppressed immunity
  • Blood loss and bleeding before or after surgery
  • Blood clots that cause the risk of heart attack, brain stroke, or lung problems
  • Troubled Breathing
  • Kidney failure due to rejection
  • Coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV)
  • Failure of the donor heart & Death

Post Operation

After the surgery is over, the patient is given medication to manage pain. The ventilator is still connected and tubes are inserted to drain fluids that accumulate around the heart.

The patients, depending on their condition, take different recovery time and are kept in the Intensive Care Unit for around two weeks. Afterwards the patient is moved to general ward is the recovery is strong and steady.

Discharge from the Hospital

After two to three weeks, the patient is discharged from the hospital but required to make frequent visits for monitoring recovery for at least three months. The most crucial period after the surgery as the chances of rejection of the new heart is highest.

Many tests are run on the patients to check for symptoms of rejection, such as fever, fatigue, less urine pass etc.  A heart biopsy may also be performed after regular intervals to check for rejection along with echocardiogram and electrocardiogram.

Life after heart transplant

A heart transplant is a major event in the life of the patient and may require lifelong changes in lifestyle to live a quality life.

The first and the most prominent change will be taking medication for preventing rejection. Immunosuppressants prevent the body from seeing the heart as a foreign body by decreasing the activity of immune system. This also makes the patient more susceptible to infections and other diseases.

The side effects of immunotherapy can be prominent like swelling of the face, weight gain, acne and facial here and stomach related ailments. But the patient has to develop a coping strategy to minimize the effect of these changes on his life.

At times, the immunosuuppressants may lead to other major diseases like high blood pressure, cancer, dissolving of bones(osteoporosis) and diabetes.

Many hospitals for heart transplant surgery in Chennai have special training and coping programs for heart transplant patients to help them better manage this lifelong regimen.

For More Details :

 For Enquiries / Appointments: 044 4289 2222 

    For Emergency: 044 4933 4933 

    Fortis Malar Hospital, No. 52, 1st Main Road, 

    Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai – 600 020.

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