Organ transplant has been around for years, but no one had publicly mentioned a heart transplant until Simon Flexner, an American medical researcher, did on his paper “Tendencies in Pathology” in 1907. A heart transplant is a surgical procedure which involves the removal of the heart of a patient with severe heart disease that does not respond to other medical treatments or end-stage heart failure and replacing it with the heart of a person(donor) that has been declared brain dead. The donor’s heart is removed and placed on ice to preserve it while it is taken to the recipient because the heart cannot last more six hours outside the body, it is often taken to the recipient via a plane or helicopter.
Who Needs a Heart Transplant?
The demand for the heart is higher than the supply, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network(OPTN), there are 3,945 people on the waiting list in the United States alone, hence the need for a careful selection process for who gets to have a heart transplant. For you to qualify for a heart transplant, it goes beyond having just an end-stage cardiovascular disease; you must not suffer any other life-threatening illness or infections such as cancer and a severe diabetes mellitus, all other parts of the body must be working very fine. Patients who abuse alcohol and smoke may not also qualify for a heart transplant.
Last but certainly not the least qualification, patient’s immune system must be compatible with the donor’s heart, this is to avoid or reduce rejection after the surgery.
The Heart Transplant Procedure in India
The heart transplant is facilitated once there is the availability of a donor’s heart. Surprisingly the heart transplant is a very straightforward surgical operation for a cardiac surgeon; it is done under general anesthesia, the patient will not be awake.
The first phase of the operation involves harvesting the donor’s heart from his or her body and then taking to the recipient quickly. To keep the donor’s heart alive while being transported to the recipient, it is stored in ice. In India, there are Transplant authorities that assign donated heart of cadaver patient to needy patient on first cum first serve basis depending on the clinical match. Recently Heart transplant in India has increased successfully due to Organ authorities pro-active measures to promote organ donation.
The second phase of the operation involves taking out the recipient’s failing heart; it is usually a simple process except for patients that have had heart surgery, there is often difficulty in cutting through the scar tissues.
The third and final phase is where the donor’s heart gets implanted into the recipient.After the surgery, patients are usually kept at the hospital for three weeks for recovery and lecturing on how best to take care of their new heart and general body health. Some patients might take longer to recover while others take a shorter time to leave the hospital and go back to their daily lives.
Success and Complications of a Heart Transplant
The heart transplant is a very successful procedure, 80% of patients live at least for a year, 70% live for over 5 years, and 50% live for at least ten years, and the numbers will only improve in the coming years. Even with the successes recorded in heart transplant, it comes with a few complications.
The most common complication is rejection, the recipient’s immune system rejects the donor's hearts, this is because our immune system primary function is to fight foreign bodies and tissues that enter our body. So to counter the rejection by the immune system, the patient takes immunosuppressive medications, these suppress the immune system and allows the acceptance of the donor’s heart, but then other infections are also allowed into the body.Patients then start experiencing symptoms of fatigue, fever, headaches and flu-like symptoms but your transplant team can easily handle all of these and the regular checkups also help to ensure to ensure you are healthy. Research is also being done to stop the entry of infections to the body while on immunosuppressive medications.
Then there is primary graft dysfunction, where the donated heart fails to work.
While the risks and complications of a heart transplant are quite evident so also is its success rate as mentioned earlier; there are records of patients that have gone on to live 25 years after receiving a transplant
Patients can return to their social and work life in one or two weeks after transplant. A patient that does not qualify for a heart transplant has the option of an artificial heart. The whole heart transplant experience is sure going to improve thanks to the various research being done on it. There will be better ways to handle the complications, and the preservation of donated hearts will improve.
Treatment Possible for Heart Transplant
We understand the agony when you have been told that the only option left is 'Heart Transplant'. The mind fills up with plenty of questions like Where can you get a Heart for you or your loved one? How much will it cost? How much time will it take as the patient is racing against time?
With our experience of working with previous patients needing the heart transplant, we are experts to coordinate for Heart Transplant requirement with Transplant Hospital, surgeon, and his team.
As soon as you come to any of our associate hospitals, the patient will be evaluated and request for a donor's heart will be submitted to Transplant Authority in India. The waiting period in India is around 3 to 6 months depending on availability of obtaining clinically matching heart. But the outcome has been very encouraging.
Cost of Heart Transplant
The procedure will cost USD 45000 in total. This is a package cost for evaluation, surgery, hospital fees.
Additional to this please note that you will incur the expense of accommodation during the waiting period along with dietary requirements. Fortunately, we have our own fully content service apartments with equipped kitchen. These are made available to our patients at an affordable rate. You can ensure home cooked food which is healthy for the patient as well as a cheaper option for a long stay treatment plan.
We understand your anxiety. Please feel free to write us on our email id firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website www.treatmentpossible.com or Whatsapp at +91 9820327706 for more information.