The heart transplant is the ultimate procedure to save a patient’s life. This usually happens when medication or other types of heart surgery are of no further use. Two main problems lead to this intervention: an idiopathic cardiomyopathy or a coronary artery disease. The first one is the failure of the heart muscle by an unknown cause and the second is the fat deposit on the inner walls of the arteries of the heart. As these problems get worse, the heart needs to pump more oxygen to meet the demand from the body. In time, the muscle weakens out from hyper usage and the heart becomes unable to stand up to the task.
When the doctors are aware about the need of a heart transplant, the patient is subscribed on a waiting list. The medication used, the size of the heart, the blood type and the severity of the case are the influential factors on the position on the waiting list. The organs originate from donors who die but have their heart intact. The heart is valid for transplant only four hours after it is removed from the body and laboratory tests are made.
Patients on the waiting list that live within four hours proximity to the hospital are eligible for the transplant. They usually wear a beeper that will let them know right away that a heart has been found. A new set of laboratory tests are made and if there are no problems, the three hours transplant operation can start. After operation, almost 12 days of recovery are necessary: two days in the recovery room, three days in the intensive care and seven days in a private room. After an operation, during the first three months, several checkups take place. Doctors take small pieces of the new heart to see if the body accepts the new heart.