Heart Transplant Surgery- How To Do The Preparations And What To Expect?

Heart diseases are more common these days than they ever were! The lifestyle we lead, the environmental factors, food intake, and work pressure can lead to heart disease.
Even the thought of someone close suffering from heart disease scares us. Then imagine the anxiety when one gets to know about their loved ones’ hearts being transplanted! Neither the person suffering from the disease will know how to react, nor will the people attached know how to prepare.
But in case you or some of your close ones have to go through a heart transplant, then there are certain things you should take care of. Also, you have to set your mind in a certain way.
But don’t worry, don’t panic! We are there for you, and we have brought certain tips that will help you know how you should prepare for the transplant and what to expect before a heart transplant.

Before moving on to the tips, we must know what is a heart transplant and what leads you towards a heart transplant?
A heart transplant is a procedure of changing a dead or defective heart with a well-performing heart. The doctors only do it when no other treatment can cure the damage in the heart. Then, a donor donates the heart to replace it with the previous one. The donor can be a dead person or a person with brain damage. But in both cases, the donor’s family should permit to extract the heart.

Why does one need a heart transplant?

A heart transplant is not done for any random heart disease. It is only done when there is no option left to treat that damaged heart.
The doctors do the operation in cases such as.

  • Congenital heart problem: This is when a person is born with some issue in their heart.
  • Problems with the valves of the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy: The heart muscles stop working or do not work as they should when they are weak.
  • Ventricular Arrhythmias: This is the misfunctioning of the heart rhythms.
  • If a previous heart transplant was unsuccessful.
  • If the patient is suffering from coronary heart disease, the doctors might do a heart transplant.

How to prepare for the transplant?

  • Go to a transplant center and get yourself checked and evaluated.
  • Check the survival rate of the hospital.
  • If they add you to the waiting list for a transplant, it is the normal procedure. It happens with most people at first who have to undergo a transplant.
  • Please do not be anxious while waiting; it takes time to find a donor based on your blood type, heart size, etc. Moreover, the wait is more compared to the availability of the donors.
  • Avoid heavy exercises and heavy cleaning during your wait for the surgery.
  • Don’t skip the medication provided or recommended by the doctor.
  • Keep calm, meditate and relax. If you take stress, it will only increase your hypertension.

Before going to the hospital-

  • Scan through your health insurance policies, call them to check if they would cover the surgery. If yes, ask them how to go about the claim.
  • If you do not have any health insurance, then arrange for the money and give the amount to someone you trust who will be with you throughout the time.
  • Arrange for blood donors of your blood group.
  • Pack up extra clothes, slippers, toothbrushes, etc.
  • After the transplant, the patient generally shifts to an ICU, so you might not need your phone there.
  • Take all your previous files and documents like ultrasounds, prescriptions, x-rays, etc.

What to expect from a heart transplant?

    • You will surely be in an ICU instead of the normal ward.
    • You will feel some pain after you wake up, but that will decrease when you take the medicines.
    • There will be a breathing tube attached that will help you breathe. A urine pipe will also be attached.
    • You might notice a change in the rate of your heartbeat.
    • You will be prone to diseases during this period and even a couple of weeks after the heart transplant. So please stay extra careful.
    • You have to protect your incisions. Keep them dry and clean. Don’t wet or rub them.
    • You might have an opening or infection in your incision.
    • Your breastbone might move or break. Be in immediate contact with your doctor.

Preparing for a heart transplant can be stressful. One step wrong can lead you to a chaotic situation. Therefore, we would suggest it would be better to prepare step by step from day one.
Hope our article helps you to prepare and set your mind for the surgery.
Take care and be safe!

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors