A heart transplant is also known as a cardiac transplant. The treatment is for people of all ages with severe heart failure. Survival among heart recipients has improved due to better treatments that suppress the immune system, preventing infection. However, the number of heart donors is much less than the demand for donor’s hearts. In addition, the cost of heart transplants in India is not cheap, and many people cannot afford it.
What is a Heart Transplant?
It refers to surgery to replace a diseased heart of a patient and replace it with a healthy one. For a patient to get the organ two or more physicians must declare the donor is brain dead.
Before a patient gets on the waiting list for a cardiac transplant, a physician decides that it’s the best treatment for heart failure. In addition, a healthcare team runs tests to ensure you are healthy enough for the surgery.
Reasons you might need a cardiac transplant?
Doctors consider a transplant for a patient if the heart is failing and other treatments are ineffective. There are several causes of heart failure, and they include:
- Myocardial infarction
- Viral infection of the heart muscle
- Heart valve disease
- Heart defects from birth
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Drug abuse/alcoholism
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
If a patient has a serious medical condition, the surgeons will perform a multiorgan transplant. It may include heart and lungs transplants, heart and liver transplants, and heart and kidney transplants.
What is the cost of a Heart Transplant in India?
The cost of a heart transplant in India varies depending on the hospital. You can check out hospitals like BLK MAX, MAX HEALTHCARE GROUP, and MAX NANAVATI. These hospitals have the best medical specialists and infrastructure to carry out cardiac transplants at comparatively reasonable costs.
You must factor in 14 days of hospitalization and around three weeks of post-surgical monitoring as part of the cardiac transplant process. However, there can be a waiting time of three weeks to 3 months which depends on the availability of a matching donor. Before a transplant, the following tests are advised. These include:
- Blood and urine testing
- EKG and chest X-ray
- Cardiopulmonary Stress Test
- MUGA scan
- Heart Catheterization
- Carotid Doppler Studies
- Abdominal Ultrasound
- pulmonary Function Testing
The heart transplant process
Before the surgery, patients are put on the waiting list to get a heart from a donor. However, the selection of recipients is done thoroughly as the organs are scarce. The organs are matched for specific blood type and donor and recipient body size.
What happens during a heart transplant?
Before a heart transplant, you get an injection of anesthesia to put you to sleep. Then, surgeons carry out heart transplants through open-heart surgery. First, surgeons make 3 to 4-inch incisions in the chest to open the rib cage.
The heart is stopped, and surgeons use a heart-lung machine to keep the blood and oxygen moving through the lungs and body. Then the surgeon removes the damaged heart and substitutes it with a healthy heart. Significant vessels are attached to the heart, and the main artery, aorta, and pulmonary arteries are not replaced. The heart beats as soon as blood starts flowing. However, if there is an obstruction in blood flow, electric shocks are administered to jumpstart the new heartbeat.
Patients are put on ventilation support to help them breathe. Pain killers are prescribed to control the pain. Lastly, physicians insert tubes into the chest to remove fluids from the lung and the heart.
What to expect after a heart transplant?
The patient stays in the ICU for some days and then moves to the general ward. The cost and time spent at the hospital vary depending on the individuals. After discharge, you need to stay at the outpatient transplant center for monitoring and observation. Patients are discharged with instructions regarding their lifestyle management, diet, and medication. Lastly, you need post-surgical diagnostic tests to monitor how the heart functions. Some signs you can experience after surgery are fatigue, infection, weight gain, fever, swelling, and shortness of breath. If any of these signs crop up, you need to consult your doctor immediately.
Risks of a heart transplant surgery
A heart transplant is a critical surgery. There are risks involved. However, monitoring, treatment, and regular medical checkups can help avoid them. They include;
- Surgery failure
- Issues from immunosuppressants
- Inability to maintain a normal lifestyle post-surgery
Are there factors affecting heart transplants in India?
The factors include:
- The total cost of the treatment including the cost of hospitalization
- Surgeon’s skills and experience
- Cost of Diagnostic tests
- Medication cost
Post-surgical care A heart transplant is a critical and delicate surgery that needs a well-equipped medical facility and experienced surgeons. You can get these services from BLK MAX and MAXHEALTHCARE GROUP.