Heart Transplant Surgery
transplant is performed under general anesthesia with the patent on a bypass
machine, which keeps oxygen-rich blood flowing throughout the procedure. It
generally lasts four to six hours, longer if the patient has had previous
coronary surgery or if there are complications. The surgeon exposes the
chest cavity and opens the pericardium. The diseased heart is removed, leaving
the back part of the left atrium in place. The donor heart is implanted and the
chest is closed. In some patients both heart and lungs may be
transplanted during the same procedure.
after surgery, patients receive pain control medication. A ventilator is used
to help a post-operative patient breathe and tubes are inserted in the chest to
drain fluids from around the lungs and heart.
The post-surgery hospital stay will last
one to two weeks. For about three months afterward, transplant recipients are
closely monitored on an outpatient basis, including blood work,
echocardiograms, electrocardiograms and heart biopsies.
After a heart transplant, patients must
make some permanent long-term adjustments, including: