A heart transplant is the ultimate endeavor if all treatment of the heart disease by the patient does not produce results. This process is the last attempt at improving patient health.
This procedure includes safe steps while still undergoing routine checks. Therefore, prospective patients must know everything that he will face.
What Is the Process Like?
Heart transplantation itself is the process of replacing a heart that is not working optimally with a heart that is better than someone who has just died. Although it sounds complex, heart transplant surgery needs to be done for the sake of safety and improving the quality of life of patients. Broadly speaking, the following stages of heart transplantation:
Find the right donor
It’s not easy to find the right donor. Usually heart donors come from people who have recently died, but the condition of the heart is good. For example due to traffic accidents, or because of brain damage where other organs are still prime. Transfer of the heart from the donor to the recipient should not exceed six hours.
Despite finding a donor, many factors must be matched. Blood groups, antibodies, to heart size will be matched by the medical team, including the risks that donor recipients might face.
Lifting the heart of a donor recipient patient
After the right donor has been obtained, it is time to lift the heart of the donor recipient. The difficulty in carrying out this process is very dependent on the heart health history that will be removed.
A heart that has undergone several surgeries will be more difficult and need more time to handle than a heart that has not undergone surgery at all.
Installing the heart from a donor
The process of implantation of the heart to the recipient is probably the easiest procedure compared to previous processes. In fact, in general, only five stitches are needed so that the heart of the donor can function properly on his new body. This process is basically aimed at connecting large blood vessels in the heart to blood vessels that will drain blood throughout the body.
Requirements for heart transplantation
Before you do a heart transplant surgery, make sure you really want to do it. You also need to change your lifestyle after a heart transplant, so this procedure can be truly successful.
In general, the following are conditions that are recommended against heart transplantation.
- Have a history of cancer or other diseases that can shorten life.
- Having an advanced age so that it can affect the body’s ability to recover from transplant surgery.
- Have other illnesses, severe active infections, or obesity.
If you are not included in the series of conditions above, then a heart transplant is considered safe to do.
What are the risks of heart transplantation
Although heart transplant surgery is increasingly sophisticated and the success rate is getting higher, it does not mean that this process is not risky. Here are some risks that can occur from this operation.
Side effects of treatment
The use of immunosuppressant drugs as drugs that suppress a person’s immune system aims to prevent the body’s rejection of transplanted organs. But continuous drug use can cause side effects, such as kidney damage.
Weakening of the immune system due to the use of immunosuppressants can also cause infections that are difficult to cure. Not surprisingly, patients who carry out this procedure will be hospitalized due to infections that are difficult to cure in the first year after surgery.
The potential for cancer will increase because the immune system decreases due to consumption of immunosuppressant drugs. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer is the most at risk of developing when you undergo post-heart transplantation treatment.
Problems with arteries
Thickened and hardened arteries are one of the risks after a heart transplant. This can make blood circulation in the heart not smooth and can trigger a person having a heart attack, heart failure, or heart rhythm disorders.
The new heart is rejected by the body
The biggest risk of the heart transplant process is the body’s rejection of a new heart. Even before this procedure, various methods will be used to prevent this from happening, but the risk of rejection still exists.
The important thing to do after undergoing a heart transplant process is to improve your lifestyle. Without proper care, the heart transplant process that has been done will be in vain.