Cardiac transplant is a procedure were the damaged or injured heart is confiscated a replaced with a hale and healthy heart. It is the final stage for the healing of cardiac disease when the medications and other surgeries have failed to stabilize the patient’s condition.

It is one of the complicated surgeries where the success rate is found to be high because of the sophisticated technologies and skillful doctors. You should learn about the process, the method’s followed in the surgery, risks concerned and the post op care when you have opted out for cardiac transplant.

Need for Cardiac Transplant Surgery:


When the major treatment does not work to cure the cardiac illness and leads to cardiac failure, transplant is the only option available.

The failure of the heart is due to,

  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Valve disease of the heart
  • Congenital defect of the heart that is present at birth and cannot be fixed with the surgery.
  • Failure of cardiac transplant.
  • Severe angina or malfunctioning of the heart which is not able to treat with drugs and other surgical techniques.
  • Life threatening irregular heart rate or rhythms which does not react to other treatments.

The cardiac transplant is not appropriate for the following patients;

  • Malnourished and has immuno compromised system.
  • More than 55yrs t0 60yrs.
  • Had more occurrences of stroke and dementia.
  • Had malignancy or tumor.
  • Affected with HIV infection.
  • Hepatitis infection which is active or viral
  • Insulin reliant and inappropriate functioning of the vital organs.
  • Patient suffering from kidney, lung, nerve and liver diseases.
  • Patient family who does not support them and also their treatment.
  • Patient who has disease of blood vessels found in the neck and leg.
  • Patient who has thickening of blood vessels in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
  • Patient who smokes or consumes alcohol or drugs or other lifestyle habits which injures the new heart.

The consultant will not advise for the cardiac transplant if the patient is not able to afford the hospital and doctor office visits, investments and drugs which are required to keep the new heart healthy.


The patient will receive general anesthesia and the breast bone or ribs are incised first. The blood is kept in flow by the heart-lung bypass machine while the surgeon repairs the heart. The machine help in the supply of blood and oxygen as the heart is made motionless. Then the donor’s heart is sutured in place by confiscating the diseased heart. Once the work is over the heart-lung machine is disconnected and the blood goes out through the new heart.

The surgeon will place a tube intact in the body for few days and the air, fluid and the unwanted blood is drained from the chest and the mean time lungs are allowed to re -develop. In few cases, the patients damaged heart is placed over it and is called as ‘Heterotrophic transplant’.

Risk Involved:

  • Formation of deep clots (DVT)
  • Use of anti rejection medicines can damage kidney, liver or other vital organs.
  • Tumor  ensuing from the use of anti rejection medicines
  • Stroke and cardiomyopathy
  • Rhythm problem associated with heart
  • Increased cholesterol levels, diabetes and thinning of the bone because of rejection drugs used.
  • Risks of infection becomes high
  • Chronic CAD
  • Infection of the wounds
  • Rejection of the heart

Rejection of the donor’s heart:

Your body’s immune system will treat the new heart as a foreign object and always tries to overwhelm on it. Every patient who undertake transplant will receive immune suppressive drugs to lessen the activity of the body’s immune system. But still nearly 30% of them show signs of rejection during the initial years.

The denial of the transplant remains unsymptomatic and need only slight adjustment of the medicine. But if single dose is missed then it can create serious problem and therefore should be followed regularly. During the first few months after transplant, biopsies will be taken frequently to determine the denial of the new heart which will be high in this period. The symptoms of the denial is as follows,

  • Breathing difficulties
  • High temperature
  • Gaining of weight due to water preservation
  • Less urination
  • Tiredness


Cardiac transplant is a life saving technique for patients who suffers from the end stage cardiac disease or it will be fatal. Nearly 80% of the cardiac transplant patients survive for about 5yrs. But the main trouble in cardiac transplant is rejection or denial of the newly transplanted heart, or else if properly maintained the endurance of the patient can be increased to 10yrs.