Heart Transplant Preoperative Details
Before proceeding with the surgery the doctors have to make sure that the patient is fit for the procedure. This is done by performing a series of tests and screenings, including right heart catheterization. The patient might be prescribed certain medications, a week, or two before the surgery, to avoid any sort of perioperative or postoperative infections.
The whole surgery will be performed under the influence of general anaesthesia.
Heart Transplant Operative Details
The heart transplantation is the procedure that actually consists of three operations.
- First Operation: Harvesting the heart from the donor - For a heart transplant procedure, the patient requires a donor’s heart that is used to replace the patient’s defective heart. A donor is usually an unfortunate person who has suffered irreversible brain injury/ brain death. The team of doctors keeps the donor’s heart working with the help of medications and other "life support" that may include a respirator or other devices. The team removes the heart along with other donated organs and keeps them preserved using ice and special solutions until they can be implanted. For heart, the transplant must take place within six hours of its removal.
- Second Operation: Removing the recipient's damaged heart - Depending on the medical condition of the patient, the process of the removal of the damaged heart can be very easy or very complicated (especially when a patient has had previous heart surgery). The doctor makes an incision in the middle of the chest and removes the patient heart. During the surgery, the patient is kept on a heart-lung bypass machine, which aids in keeping the oxygen-rich blood circulating in the patient’s body.
- Third operation: The implantation of the donor’s heart - The operation involves the final step of replacing the patient’s heart with the donor’s heart. The doctor, after transplantation, connects the donor’s heart to the main arteries and veins of the patient. This operation involves the creation of only five lines of stitches, or "anastomoses.”