Advertisement

When is a heart transplant recommended?

A heart transplant is performed when congestive heart failure or heart injury can't be treated by any other medical or surgical means. It's reserved for those individuals with a high risk of dying from heart disease within one or two years. Most patients who undergo a transplant have one of two problems. One is irreversible damage to the heart caused by coronary artery disease, commonly called "hardening of the arteries," and multiple heart attacks. The other problem is cardiomyopathy, or heart muscle disease. In this condition, the heart cannot contract normally because of damage to the muscle cells. It may have been caused by bacterial or viral infection, or hereditary factors. Occasionally, heart transplants are performed on people with other forms of heart disease. These might include the effects of rheumatic fever or hypertension (high blood pressure), abnormalities in the heart valves that cause damage to the heart muscle, congenital heart defects (those structural abnormalities present at birth), or rare conditions like heart tumors.
Jen Nixon, FNP
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Heart transplantation is an excellent therapy for select patients with end stage heart failure. We typically consider transplant when the chance of 1 year survival, without intervention, is less than 50%. Before being considered for transplant, patients have been optimized on medical, surgical, and/or device therapies (i.e. ICD, Biventricular pacemaker). Patients usually have low cardiac output with marked activity limitations due to heart failure symptoms. Prior to being listed they go through a thorough evaluation to see whether other body systems are healthy enough to expect good survival and quality of life after transplant

Continue Learning about Heart Transplant

How successful are heart transplants in children?
The Society of Thoracic SurgeonsThe Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Infants and children who undergo heart transplantation experience good outcomes after surgery. They ...
More Answers
Are there long-term complications for children with heart transplants?
The Society of Thoracic SurgeonsThe Society of Thoracic Surgeons
The main factors limiting long-term survival among children who have undergone heart transplant are ...
More Answers
What Is the State of Heart Transplants?
What Is the State of Heart Transplants?
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Heart Transplant?
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Heart Transplant?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.