A heart transplant is usually recommended to patients where other treatment options like medication and surgeries have failed to improve the functioning of the heart. The process in which a diseased heart is replaced by a healthy heart is called heart transplant. Today, with advanced medical technology it is possible to successfully do a heart transplant without any complications. The chances of survival are high; however only if the surgery is performed at one of the best heart transplant hospitals like Max Healthcare.
Since, a heart transplant is a critical operation; people do come up with a lot of questions regarding the same.
Dr. Kewal Krishan, Program In-charge – Heart Transplant & Ventricular Assist Devices Sr. Consultant - CTVS, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, some of the frequently asked questions are:
What are the circumstances under which I would come to know if I need a heart transplant?
Heart transplant surgery is done in cases where a person is suffering from a severe heart disease. You don’t have to worry about that as your cardiologist or pulmonary medicine specialist would refer you to the heart transplant center. Mainly, two things are evaluated at a transplant center. First is to check the condition of the heart and how severe the disease is. Second and most important thing is to see if the person will be able to survive the heart transplant surgery or not.
What difference would a heart transplant make to my life?
Heart transplant surgery will, without a doubt, make a lot of difference to one’s life. After the heart transplant surgery is performed, the patient would observe the symptoms of the heart disease fading away. Not only that, they will be able to perform all the physical activities better than the one without a transplant. However, every heart recipient is put on regular drug treatment and medicines along with a close supervision.
Is a heart transplant surgery difficult and painful?
A heart transplant surgery is done by keeping many things into consideration basis on which the level of complications is evaluated. When the evaluation is done, there are various things that are informed by the doctors to the patients like the procedure, risk and recovery after surgery. The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia where the patient is unconscious and does not feel anything.
How much time would it take for me to get discharged from the hospital after the heart transplant surgery?
Heart transplant surgery is not that complicated as it sounds. Usually, it takes around 10 days for a heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital. But there can be cases when it takes more than two weeks. It all depends on the severity and condition of the recipient as to how well they respond to the surgery.
Once the surgery is done, will it still be painful afterwards?
Patients usually do not complain about having pain after the surgery. Yes, there will be a little discomfort while coughing but proper medicines and painkillers will help minimize the pain.
How bad my scars will be?
The scar of a heart transplant surgery will be prominent initially, but it will fade away to become a thin line with the course of time.
How much time would I need to get back to work?
It is suggested by the doctors that a heart transplant patient should take a minimum of months off from work. One can always take more time than that if needed.
What kind of medicines will I be taking after the heart transplant surgery?
The doctors would prescribe a combination of immunosuppressants (or anti-rejection) after the surgery. Along with that, other medications would also be prescribed to protect your body from various infections.
Can my family be there at the hospital with me after the surgery is done?
Once the heart transplant surgery is done, the recipient would be in the intensive care unit where the family members would not be allowed. But there would be visiting hours so that they can come and spend time with you.
When will I recover totally from the surgery?
There are various things that determine the time of recovery for a heart transplant recipient. In most cases, it takes three to six months for a recipient to fully recover from the surgery. But age and other related factors may affect the recovery period for some.