International Journal of Cardiovascular ResearchISSN: 2324-8602

About Cardiac Transplantation

Heart transplantation is performed to replace a failing heart that cannot be adequately treated by other means.

Congestive heart failure (CHF)

End-stage heart failure is a disease in which the heart muscle is failing severely in its attempt to pump blood through the body, and in which all other available treatments are no longer helping to improve the hearts function. End-stage heart failure is the final stage of heart failure. Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition that occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently. Despite its name, a diagnosis of heart failure does NOT mean the heart is about to stop beating. The term "failure" refers to the fact that the heart muscle is failing to pump blood in the normal manner because it has become weakened.

As with any surgery, complications may occur. Potential risks associated with heart transplantation may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding during or after the surgery
  • Blood clots that can cause heart attack, stroke, or lung problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Coronary arteriopathy (similar to coronary artery disease)

The new heart may be rejected by the bodys immune system. Rejection is the bodys normal reaction to a foreign object or tissue. When a new heart is transplanted into a recipients body, the immune system reacts to what it perceives as a threat and attacks the new organ, not realizing that the transplanted heart is beneficial. To allow the transplanted organ to survive in a new body, medications must be taken to trick the immune system into accepting the transplant and not attacking it as a foreign object.

The medications used to prevent or treat rejection have side effects. The exact side effects will depend on the specific medications that are taken.

Contraindications for heart transplantation include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Current or recurring infection that cannot be treated effectively.
  • Metastatic cancer. This is when cancer has spread from its primary location to one or more additional locations in the body.
  • Severe medical problems preventing the ability to tolerate the surgical procedure.
  • Serious conditions other than heart disease that would not improve after transplantation.
  • Noncompliance with treatment regimen.

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