Heart transplant surgery becomes a necessity if the patient has already suffered a major heart attack. If the condition is critical and all the other routes of medical intervention have failed to improve things or control the symptoms, our experienced cardiologists may refer the patient to our heart transplant department for a transplant assessment.
The medical assessment will determine whether the patient needs a transplant and whether he/she is suitable for the surgery. Based on that detailed assessment, patient may be considered:
- Suitable for a transplant, in this condition the patient is put onto the immediate transplant waiting list. Which means he/she could be called for a transplant at any time, depending on the availability of a suitable organ for transplant.
- Potentially suitable for a transplant, but the doctors / surgeons are not convinced if the condition is severe enough to put the patient on waiting list. If this is the case, the patient is monitored regularly. If the condition deteriorates, he/she will go on the waiting list for the heart transplant procedure.
- When the patient is in need of further investigations or second opinion. This means that more diagnosis is required before a conclusive decision is made.
- Unsuitable for a heart transplant. There could be many reasons behind a patient not being suitable to undergo a heart transplant surgery. Our experienced transplant team will thoroughly explain why the patient is not suitable and will discuss other treatment methods.
What happens after the heart transplant?
In most of the regular cases, the patient is discharged within 1 month of the transplant surgery, but depending on the patient’s condition, he/she may by consulted by the doctors to stay under observation for longer.
In the first 3 months after the surgery, the patient will need to make regular visits to the hospital. The transplant team will regularly consult with the patient with regards to practical arrangements for post-surgery rehabilitation.
Although the patient will be weak after the operation for few days, recovery can be generally quick. It is very important to build up the physical activity of the body gradually. The patient must avoid activities involving pushing, pulling or heavy lifting until the breastbone is fully healed. The complete healing and recovery of breastbone may take up to three or four months.
What the patient must do for speedy recovery
In order to insure the complete success of heart transplant and speedy recovery, the patient will need to adjust his/her lifestyle as suggested by the doctors. Here are some things to be taken under consideration during the recovery phase:
- Patient must attend all the follow up appointments with the doctor – this will help in monitoring your health and change the running medications if required.
- Patient must religiously take all the prescribed medication for the defined period without fail.
- Wearing a sunblock is suggested when the patient steps outside the house, as after the transplant there is higher risk of developing skin cancer.
- Smoking is a strict no no! Not smoking is the first prerequisite to keep the heart healthy post-transplant.
- Physical activity such as walking around and building up short walks outside in the locality will instill the much required stamina and eagerness to get back to normal.
- Patient must eat a healthy, balanced diet to protect the heart, which includes eating lots of fruit, green vegetables and whole grains.
- Cholesterol and blood pressure levels must be strictly kept under control. It is highly suggested to maintain a healthy BMI, and reduced salt intake in the diet.