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Heart Transplant

Heart Transplant - What it is

A heart transplant is the replacement of a patient’s diseased heart with a healthy heart from a donor who has suffered brain death. The donor’s heart is completely removed and quickly transported to the operating theatre. During the operation, the patient is placed on a heart-lung machine which pumps blood throughout the rest of the body. The patient’s heart is removed, leaving the back walls of the heart’s upper chambers. The back chambers on the new heart are opened and the heart is sewn into place. The blood vessels are then connected and blood flow through the heart and lungs is resumed. As the heart warms up, it begins beating.

Patients are usually up and around a few days after the heart transplant. If there are no signs of the body rejecting the organ and other post-operative complications, patients are fit to go home within two weeks.

Heart Transplant - Symptoms

Heart Transplant - How to prevent?

Heart Transplant - Causes and Risk Factors

Heart Transplant - Diagnosis

Who needs a heart transplant?

Patients suffering from end-stage heart failure where their condition cannot be relieved by conventional medical or surgical treatment may need a heart transplant. 

Who is eligible for a heart transplant? 

Patients suffering from end-stage heart disease and under the age of 60 are the most likely candidates for a heart transplant. The doctor, patient and family must address the following four basic questions to deter¬mine whether a transplant should be considered:
  • Have all other therapies been tried or ruled out?
  • Is the patient likely to die without the transplant?
  • Is the person in generally good health other than suffering from heart disease?
  • Can the patient adhere to the lifestyle changes which include complex drug treatments and frequent examinations - required after a transplant?

Patients who do not meet the above criteria or suffer from other conditions, such as other severe diseases, active infections or severe obesity, are not suitable candidates for a heart transplant.

Heart Transplant - Treatments

Heart Transplant - Preparing for surgery

Heart Transplant - Post-surgery care

​The quality of life for patients improves dramatically after a heart transplant and they are able to lead more active lifestyles. However, patients need to take medications such as immunosuppressants for life. The medications keep the body from rejecting the transplant. A patient’s survival depends on many factors, including age, general health and response to the transplant. Survival rate worldwide is reported to be 86% at one year after surgery, 73% after five years and 60% after 10 years.

Heart Transplant - Other Information

​The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) set up the heart transplant programme in 1990. For more information, visit here.

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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