A heart transplant is surgery to remove a damaged or diseased heart and replace it with a healthy donor heart.
Cardiac transplant; Transplant - heart; Transplantation - heart
Finding a donor heart can be difficult. The heart must be donated by someone who is brain-dead but is still on life support. The donor heart must be matched as closely as possible to your tissue type to reduce the chance that your body will reject it.
You are put into a deep sleep with general anesthesia, and a cut is made through the breastbone.
- Your blood flows through a heart-lung bypass machine while the surgeon works on your heart. This machine does the work of your heart and lungs while they are stopped, and supplies your body with blood and oxygen.
- Your diseased heart is removed and the donor heart is stitched in place. The heart-lung machine is then disconnected. Blood flows through the transplanted heart, which takes over supplying your body with blood and oxygen.
- Tubes are inserted to drain air, fluid, and blood out of the chest for several days, and to allow the lungs to fully re-expand.