What is a heart transplant?
The first operation of this kind was performed by the doctor Christiaan Barnard in South Africa about 54 years ago, specifically on December 3, 1967, and during the eighties, few of them succeeded, and after continuous medical progress, the need for a heart transplant became minimal, but despite the fact that Therefore, some cases require this procedure, so what is this procedure called a heart transplant?
heart transplant It is a surgical procedure in which a human heart is replaced and a new, healthy heart is transplanted into a patient with heart failure. The heart comes from an organ donor who was found to be brain dead. A donor heart replaces a patient's heart that has been severely damaged by disease and needs a transplant. During the procedure, the heart and lung function support devices take over the function of pumping and supplying oxygen. A rejection reaction may occur after a heart transplant.
Therefore, the heart transplant doctor permanently gives the patient medications that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants) to ensure a successful heart transplant. The prognosis after the first heart transplant is relatively good. Most patients live longer after a human heart transplant and have a better quality of life than their seriously ill heart.
When are heart transplants performed?
Heart failure is a common reason for heart surgery for a heart transplant, where the heart is unable to pump blood effectively. Initially, this can be treated with medication or, in some cases, the use of a specialized pacemaker that helps improve the blood's pumping function.
Heart transplantation is not considered until after the heart has reached a terminal stage of serious disease, where the life expectancy of affected patients is less than a year. A transplant is useful if other treatment methods (medications, other operations) no longer bring any improvement. This includes conditions such as heart abnormalities, coronary artery stenosis (coronary heart disease, CHD) or heart muscle disease with an enlarged heart.
A heart transplant can be performed in the first few days of life and may be appropriate until about age 70. However, contraindications to heart transplantation should be noted. For example, tumors, serious late-stage internal diseases (kidney failure, liver damage, lung disease), severe infections or alcohol or drug abuse, all are against a donor heart transplant.
How does a heart transplant work?
Organs of donors are distributed by organizations that supervise the process. If the criteria for a heart transplant are met, the patient is added to the waiting list. The patient should always be ready and available for the transplant. The waiting time usually spans over months, but is unpredictable due to circumstances. The heart must come from a donor with body proportions similar to the patient in order for the heart's pumping power to roughly match the patient's requirements. The blood types of the donor and the recipient should match as closely as possible.
A heart transplant is considered an emergency. The heart must be transplanted into the patient's body as soon as possible, because after the removal of the organ, the heart can live only for a period of four to six hours. The core is stored and transported in a cold four-degree solution. The transplant is done in the center of the heart. The donor's heart is implanted in the place where the body's heart was previously. A portion of the atria is left in place and the donor's heart is attached. To ensure blood circulation and the supply of oxygen and nutrients, the patient relies on the heart-lung machine during the procedure. A lung transplant can be combined with a heart transplant.
What tests will be done before a heart transplant?
As a rule, many examinations have already been carried out at the stage when the patient has already developed heart disease. In preparation for the transplant, a detailed discussion takes place between the doctor and the patient. The physical examination is part of the diagnosis. A blood sample is taken to accurately determine the blood type and measure blood values. Other necessary measures could be blood pressure measurement, electrocardiogram (EKG), and imaging procedures (X-ray, ultrasound). The blood flow to the heart is also checked, and the entire body should be checked for serious comorbidities.
You may not be a suitable candidate for a heart transplant if you:
in a advanced age Can interfere with the ability to recover from transplant surgery, have another condition that could lead to premature death, regardless of receiving a donor heart, such as serious liver, kidney, or lung disease, have an active infection, have a recent personal medical history of cancer, Unwilling or unable to make the lifestyle changes necessary to keep the donor's heart healthy, such as not drinking alcohol or not smoking.
What should patients consider before a heart transplant?
Patients must be constantly prepared for the transplant, and therefore always available. If there are new diseases that interfere with the transplant, this should be reported immediately. The doctor's instructions must be observed.
The heart transplant is performed under general anesthesia and the body is cooled. The surgeon opens the chest cavity by cutting the sternum. The heart-lung machine is connected to the large blood vessels via a cannula and the affected heart is removed. In its place, the new heart from the donor is sutured. When the heart beats again, which usually happens automatically as a result of the heat, the heart-lung machine can be removed. A heart transplant usually takes three to four hours.
Heart transplant complications
A heart transplant has a number of potential complications. General complications such as bleeding, infection, and wound healing disorders can occur. Noticeable scars can appear on the skin. The risk of bleeding is especially severe if it occurs in the pericardium (the covering around the heart). Emergency surgery may be required. The risk of developing pneumonia increases. In the period after transplantation, and sometimes also later, there may be a rejection reaction against the transplanted organ. This requires extensive treatment with medications and an exchange of blood plasma. If this treatment fails, a new transplant may be needed. In heart transplant patients, a special alteration of the coronary arteries (transplant vasculopathy) is later possible. By the way, the situation before and after planting is a psychological burden.
Necessary medicines (immunosuppressants) in turn have a number of side effects such as: Weakening the immune system.
After the transplant, the patient is placed in the intensive care unit and then on the regular hospital ward. He must stay in the hospital for four to six weeks, after which he usually goes to a rehabilitation clinic. After transplantation, the patient should do breathing exercises and physical therapy under supervision. The patient should also go to the doctor for regular checkups at a later time. Among other things, blood values, blood pressure, heart rate and physical functions are checked there. Cardiac catheterization examination is performed annually. Prescription medications (eg, immunosuppressants) should be used with caution.
Diet and nutrition after undergoing a heart transplant
Diet modification is needed to maintain a healthy and well-functioning heart. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help avoid complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Dietitians help discuss nutritional and diet needs and offer many healthy food choices and ideas for your own eating plan.
Heart transplantation can extend life for most patients, and despite the inconveniences of immunotherapy, performance and quality of life tend to increase. The chances of success also largely depend on the comorbidities. If organs such as the lungs, liver or kidneys are damaged, the prognosis is correspondingly less favorable. Other serious illnesses increase mortality during and shortly after surgery.
Most people who have a heart transplant have a good quality of life. Depending on their health, they may be able to return to daily activities, such as returning to work, participating in hobbies, sports and exercising. Some women who have had a heart transplant can become pregnant. However, it is possible that they will need medication adjustments before they get pregnant; As some medications can cause complications during pregnancy. Survival rates after a heart transplant vary based on a number of factors. Survival rates continue to improve despite the increased risk in older people who have had heart transplants. The worldwide overall survival rate was over 80% after one year, and about 65% after five years for adults.
Possible alternatives to treatment
A heart transplant is only done when other procedures such as operations, pacemakers, or medication have not worked. Instead of the true donor's heart, an artificial heart can also be used. However, this is not appropriate in the long term and is therefore only a way to reduce the waiting time for the donor organ.
Artificial heart transplantation in Turkey
The artificial heart works just like a human heart and is made of a type of biocompatible plastic that is highly resistant to stress and has a long durability. It consists of two ventricles and four valves that pump blood throughout the body.
Turkey is one of the few countries in the world where this complex operation is performed. More than 200 artificial heart transplants have been performed and all were successful.
Advantages of heart transplant surgery in Turkey
The medical achievements of Turkish surgeons are known and recognized all over the world.
Hospitals are well-equipped with the latest technological intelligence and advanced equipment. Many Turkish hospitals have also cooperated with international hospitals such as Acibadem Hospital with Harvard Medical International and Memorial Health Group to be the first hospital to join the American Hospital Association, and Sisley Florence Nightingale Hospital was accredited by TUV Rheinland Germany.And many more. Including Acibadem Group, Medical Healthcare Group and Medical Park Group.
Medical Tourism More than 1.7 million medical tourists travel to Turkey annually. These statistics make Turkey one of the best destinations for medical tourism. Surgical treatments performed by doctors in Turkey using the latest techniques and methods cost patients less than Europe and the USA.
Cost factor, as the medical activities performed in Turkish hospitals use techniques and technologies that follow the same standards applied in developed countries, but at lower costs.