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Team Resolve

February 11, 2022

Post-Surgery Heart Transplant: Care And Recovery

Every year nearly over two hundred heart transplants occur in India. The success rate of cardiac transplants remains close to 80-90%. It is an important option for those with end-stage heart disease. Though the number of people undertaking a heart transplant is a mere number when compared to the number of people suffering from it. It is because there are many factors like financial scarcity, fear of success rate, age-related problems and many more. This article covers aspects related to cardiac transplantation and its post-surgery care.

Table of Contents

What Is A Heart Transplant?

A heart transplant or a cardiac transplant is a surgical procedure that is performed on people with end-stage heart disease or coronary artery diseases. The surgery is performed to remove the affected heart with a healthy functioning heart from an organ donor. 

Though the death rate is constant, patients can expect 15 to 20 years of proper functioning in case of a successful transplant.

What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of A Heart Transplant

Causes

  1. Cardiomyopathy: a weakening of heart muscles.
  2. Coronary artery diseases.
  3. Heart valve blockage
  4. Congenital heart problem: inborn heart problems
  5. Ventricular arrhythmias: irregular and abnormal rhythmic functioning of the heart
  6. Previous heart transplant failure
  7. Heart transplants can also take place due to multi-organ transplants. Some of them include:
    1. heart -kidney transplant
    2. Heart-lung transplant
    3. Heart-liver transplant

Symptoms

The common or widely seen symptoms are

  1. Fluctuation in blood pressure
  2. Muscular spasms in the chest area
  3. Swelling of feet, hands or ankles
  4. Fast and irregular heartbeats
  5. Feeling weak and tired
  6. Pain around the chest
  7. Shortage of breath
  8. Recurring fevers and chills
  9. Sudden weight gain
  10. Flu-like aches

 

Types Of Heart Transplant

There are two different types of approaches for a heart transplant.

  1. Orthotopic approach: this is done by making an incision at the middle of the chest and then removing the affected heart with the donor’s heart.
  2. Heterotopic approach: in this process, the donor’s heart is connected to the native heart in a parallel fashion.

 

Heart Transplant Might Not Be A Good Option If:

Performing heart transplant might not be a good option:

  1. If it is performed at an advanced age: the recovery process might not go well.
  2. The patient has chronic diseases like high diabetes, kidney or liver process. The diseases can interfere with the graft.
  3. The patient has an active infection.
  4. The patient is unwilling to make necessary lifestyle changes like smoking and consuming alcohol.
  5. The patient has a recent medical history of cancer.

All these factors can lead to graft rejection.

What To Expect?

Before The Surgery

Before the surgery 

  1. The doctor takes the medical history of the patient.
  2. Arranging and matching of the graft is done
  3. The doctor asks to stop the consumption of certain medications before the surgery
  4. The patient is usually kept under the supervision of the hospital for about 24 hours before going in with the surgery. 
  5. The doctors monitor the health status like blood pressure, blood sugar level, pulse, etc.
  6. Bond signatures are necessary before surgery.

During The Surgery

  1. Cardiac transplantation is an open heart procedure in which a heart-lung bypass is connected to maintain the flow of oxygen-rich blood in the entire body.
  2. The procedure takes several hours and if the surgery is performed on a patient who has undergone a heart transplant before, then due to complications it takes more time to get completed.
  3. The patient is given a general anesthetic before the procedure.
  4. An incision is made in the chest and then the chest bone is moved to expose the heart.
  5. The diseased heart is then replaced with the donor’s heart.
  6. The blood flow and pulse of the graph is restored.
  7. Eclectic shocks are sometimes used to restore the pulse.
  8. Iv tubes are used to transfer fluids and medicines.

After The Surgery

  1. The patient is kept under the supervision of the medical professionals in the ICU, depending upon how much time they need.
  2. The patient is then shifted to regular hospital rooms.
  3. The patient stays in the hospital for about 2-3 weeks.
  4. Regular monthly visits to the doctor are necessary for the initial 3 months of the treatment.
  5. The doctor monitors the health condition and examines if there are any signs of graft rejection.

What Can Be Done At Home: Precautions And Care

The transplant aims to help the patient return to a healthy lifestyle where they can perform normal daily activities. But during the initial days, the patient needs to take care of their health.

  1. Avoiding heavy and strenuous activities.
  2. Taking adequate rest: taking rest doesn’t mean that the patient must lie down the entire time. A little physical work can help in better blood circulation and avoid any risks of having a blood clot.
  3. Avoiding foods that might interact with the medicines.
  4. Maintaining good food hygiene.
  5. Intaking proper diet and drinking plenty of water
  6. Maintaining personal hygiene like dental hygiene, keeping the area of incision clear.
  7. Wearing comfortable clothes.
  8. Cleaning the cut area with antiseptic. (note: the antiseptic prescribed by the doctor should be used)
  9. Regularly updating the doctor about the health
  10. Taking proper medications prescribed by the doctor. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
  11. If there is swelling in the body, the patient can take a hot saltwater bath.
  12.  Avoiding coming in close contact with patients with any bacterial infection.
  13. Restraining from smoking and consuming alcohol during the recovery phase.
  14.  Taking immunosuppressants. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
  15. Taking therapies or indulging in programs made for heart transplant patients. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
  16. Avoiding bending and getting a toilet seat riser, in case of low toilets.
  17. When the patient feels better and has the confidence of doing activities, they should start with easy and light tasks.
  18. When the patient feels confident, they can ask their doctor if the time is suitable for them to start driving again.
  19. Undergoing surgery is a huge take on mental health. So, if the patient feels demotivated or depressed they should share and let their close ones know. The family members should support them in the journey. Being patient and optimistic is the key.
  20. If faced with any signs of infection or other unexpected occurring, the patient must immediately contact their doctor.

 

Recovery

After 3 months of the transplant, the patient can feel normal to return to their daily activities. Though it is always advisable to contact their doctor before doing so.

There remain chances of graft rejection. So, regular monitoring by the doctor is necessary. The patient should properly take their immunosuppressants. A successful heart transplant can give life worth about 15 years or more.

 

“Don’t forget to thank the donor and it is the time to enjoy life to the fullest!”

Disclaimer

The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.

Why Should Someone Choose Resolve360?

Resolve360 is an online rehabilitation platform for post-surgery clinical assessments, that provides solutions to post-surgery care and rehabilitation facilities for the patients. There are several programs on how to take care after undergoing surgery, what precautions and care one should take. There is free access to knowledge and consultation. For further details, don’t forget to contact us! We will take extreme pride in serving you! HAPPY RECOVERY!   For further detailed knowledge kindly go through the following points.  
  1. Resolve360 is a promising online platform, where one can receive treatment at the comfort of their own home. 
  2. We are available on both the google play store and the app store.
  3. There’s Tiana, our chat buddy to guide you 24/7 through all your doubts, progress and feedback.
  4. Our team specializes in providing the following services:
    1. Physiotherapy
    2. Speech therapy
    3. Clinical psychological counselling
    4. Antenatal and postnatal care
    5. Pregnancy wellness
    6. Covid rehabilitation facilities
  5. The patients don’t need to worry about traveling long distances to receive their post-surgery treatment or rehab.
  6. The patients can save up the time and can utilize that time to take care of themselves.
  7. For a smooth, at-home experience the patients are offered the following facilities:
    1. Live sessions,
    2. video conferencing and 
    3. video prescriptions 
  8. Building trust is really important. So, we always try our best to provide the maximum support to the patients to make them feel comfortable. 
  9. We always schedule the timings of the meetings based on the patient’s preference. Rescheduling can also be done if there are any problems.
  10. When a patient comes to our doctor it becomes the responsibility of our doctor to give them a healthy life.
  11. We guarantee that doctors will never leave their patients. 
  12. The patients can openly talk about their problems and we assure that the information will be between the patients and the doctors only. 
  13. Our doctors plan every step necessary for their patients, starting from planning out exercises to drafting their diet charts. 
  14. The doctors on the platform are extremely reliable and are certified professionals with experience. 
  15. It is a platform that provides solutions to every problem, starting with home remedies to prescribed medications. 
  16. The patient’s trust is our confidence!

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