What is Heart Transplant?
Heart Transplant is a surgical process in which the damaged or diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a donor. This process of heart replacement is an incredibly complex procedure carried out as a treatment of last resort. It is used to treat the most serious cases of heart disease when all the other options such as medication, lifestyle changes and less invasive procedures haven’t been successful.
Fortis Hospital is one of the best heart transplant hospitals in India equipped with a team of highly skilled cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and heart transplant specialists who are capable of handling the most complex heart transplant procedures. Furthermore, we also possess state-of-the-art infrastructure required to perform this incredibly complicated surgery.
When does a person require a heart transplant surgery?
A person who is suffering from any of the following conditions is a suitable candidate to undergo cardiac transplantation.
This is a disease of the heart muscle where the walls of the arteries become thickened and stiff, which makes it harder for it to pump blood.
Coronary Artery Disease:
It is the most common heart disease which occurs when the blood vessels which supply blood, oxygen and other essential nutrients to the heart are diseased, leading to a build-up of plaque on the inner walls. This reduces the blood flow to the heart and hence results in a heart attack.
Congenital Heart Defects:
These are defects in the heart which are present right from the time a person is born. These include defects in the heart valves, walls or muscles, or defective connection among blood vessels, which deprive the heart of sufficient oxygen to perform properly.
Apart from these, there are certain other criteria that need to be fulfilled by the person to be eligible for a transplant.
- All the other important organs in the body must be functioning properly.
- The patient should preferably be under 65 years of age.
- The person must not be suffering from any kind of infection, cancer or advanced stages of diabetes.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption also adversely impacts a person’s suitability to get a heart transplant.
Fortis Hospitals is a multi-specialty hospital which is renowned for its heart transplant surgery. Our team of cardiac specialists carry out a wide variety of tests to ensure a high survival rate and the best outcome for a patient. Our patient centric approach and adherence to international standards of healthcare, especially in complicated processes such as organ transplantation make us one of the best heart transplant hospitals in India.
What are the tests performed before a transplant?
Fortis Hospital is well-known for its heart transplant treatment thanks to our rigorous care and an eye for detail, with a dedicated team overseeing all the aspects of heart transplant. A special transplant team performs some pre-transplantation tests to ensure that the person is eligible for a heart transplant. These include
- Blood Tests to ensure a good donor match
- Diagnostic tests including CT scan, pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and X-rays to assess the overall condition of the person as well as the state of the lungs.
- Vaccinations to reduce the chances of infection due to the transplanted heart
Steps involved in Heart Transplantation:
A general anesthetic is administered to the patient.
An intravenous line is connected to the patient’s arm to supply medicine and the patient is connected to a ventilator to assist in the breathing process.
The surgeons make a cut in the breastbone in order to facilitate the removal of diseases heart and the insertion of the donor heart.
The patient is connected to a heart-lung bypass machine to enable blood circulation when the surgery is being performed.
The damaged heart is removed.
The donor heart is inserted and stitched into place. The blood vessels are connected carefully to ensure there are no leaks.
The bypass machine is disconnected after allowing the blood circulating in the machine back into the heart.
After the surgery, the patient is monitored in the hospital for about a week so his/her vital health parameters can be stabilized. The patient will have several follow-up appointments at the heart care center in the course of which there will several blood tests, ECGs and heart biopsies to ascertain whether the body is rejecting the new heart, and to take any remedial measures if necessary.
Risks and Complications of Heart Transplant
This surgery has its own share of probable risks, which a person muat be aware of. These include:
This is the biggest complication that can occur post-transplant. It happens because sometimes the recipient’s immune system mistakes the donor heart for a foreign object and attacks it. This risk can be mitigated to a certain extent with the help of immunosuppressants-medications that suppress the potency and activities of the body’s immune system. Nevertheless, it is still a possibility in a small percentage of the cases. This can be assessed through biopsy and be treated with medication.
Side-effects of medicines:
The immunosuppressants may result in many side-effects such as kidney damage, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and also cancer. This can be tackled through regular follow-ups at our reputed cardiac care hospital.
Since the body’s defence system is weakened by the medications, the risk of getting an infection is high. However, it reduces significantly after the first year of transplant.
Fortis Hospital is among the top heart transplant hospitals in India with 250 successful heart transplantations to its credit and over 30 years of experience. Asia’s biggest heart transplant team from Fortis Hospital, Malar has joined hands with our team in Bangalore to start the Heart Transplant Program at Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore. Our dedicated team of heart transplant cardiologists strive to ensure the best outcomes for our patients.