A heart transplant surgery involves replacing a failing or diseased heart with a healthier donor heart. It is a procedure that is ideal for individuals who have tried other surgeries or medications, but their heart conditions have not improved. The chance of survival after this operation is good with the right follow-up care.
After the Procedure
Here is what a heart transplant patient can expect after surgery:
- After a heart transplant surgery from one of the finest heart hospitals in Delhi, India, a patient is required to stay in the intensive care unit (ICU). They are moved to a regular hospital room after spending a couple of days in the ICU. The hospital stay lasts for a week or two.
- After leaving the hospital, the patient is closely monitored at the outpatient transplant centre by the transplant team. Due to the frequent monitoring sessions, it is best to stay close to the transplant centre for the first three months. The patient is monitored for any symptoms or signs of rejection, like fatigue, weight gain, shortness of breath, fever, or abnormal urination. It is highly crucial to let the transplant team know if the patient notices any of these symptoms.
- The patients have several follow-up appointments at the transplant centre which consist of regular tests, such as heart biopsies, blood test, echocardiograms, and electrocardiograms. To know if the patient’s body is rejecting the new heart, they will have frequent heart biopsies in the initial few months after heart transplantation, when rejection is most likely to happen. The frequency of essential biopsies decreases over time.
Heart transplant patients need to make several long-term adjustments after their surgery. These include:
- Taking Immunosuppressants
Taking immunosuppressants decrease the immune system’s activity to prevent it from attacking the donated heart. Because the immune system will most likely never entirely accept the new organ, the patient is required to take some of these medications for the rest of their life.
However, there are certain side effects linked to the consumption of immunosuppressants. These medications may lead to weight gain, stomach problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, acne or facial hair.
2. Managing Medications, Therapies and A Lifelong Care Plan
After a heart transplant, taking the medications as the doctor instructs and following a lifelong care plan is essential. The doctor may give patients specific instructions and lifestyle guidelines, like exercising, wearing sunscreen, having a healthy diet,and not using tobacco products. It is important to take medications every day on time, for faster recovery. Also, there needs to be a list maintained that keeps track of all the medications. This proves useful in case of an emergency.
3. Cardiac Rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation programs incorporate exercise and education to help improve health and expedite the recovery process after the transplant. Several staff members trained in cardiac rehabilitation help patients in adjusting to healthy lifestyle changes including regular physical activities and a heart-healthy diet.
4. Emotional Support
The new medical therapies and the stress of having a heart transplant may make patients feel overwhelmed. Several individuals who have had a heart transplant feel anxious about their health and the life ahead. Talking to any of the doctors in heart transplant hospitals helps relieve stress. Moreover, transplant centres often have support groups and other resources to help patients.
Depending on their condition, most heart transplant surgery patients may be able to return to many of the day-to-day activities like exercising, work, and participating in hobbies and sports. Most individuals who receive a heart transplant in India enjoy a high quality of life if they get the right follow-up care.