Heart transplant

Replacement of a patient’s damaged or diseased heart with a healthy heart taken from a donor at the time of death. Typically, transplant patients have advanced coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy. During the operation, the function of the heart is taken over by a heart–lung machine. Most of the diseased heart is removed, but the back walls of the atria (upper chambers) are left in place. The ventricles (upper chambers) are then attached to the remaining areas of the recipient’s heart. Once the immediate post-operative period is over, the outlook is good. Patients face the long-term problems associated with other forms of transplant surgery. (See also heart–lung transplant.)


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