When is a heart transplant needed and what is the criteria for getting one? This is the topic that we will be learning about in the following article.
Heart transplants involve surgery in which a damaged heart is replaced with a healthy donor heart for renewing its health. This surgery could literally give a new life to heart patients. Why is a heart transplant needed and if needed, what are the criteria that one needs to pass?
An organ transplant is never easy and neither is a heart transplant. It requires certain conditions to be fulfilled. The following are some criteria that you need to look into.
When to Get a Transplant
These are a few reasons and conditions in which getting a heart transplant becomes necessary:
- Coronary artery disease―This disease comes about when there is a build up of plaque which causes the arteries in the human heart to block up. In such a case, the heart gets weaker and weaker and in time the condition becomes so bad that the heart may stop pumping blood altogether.
- Valvular heart disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Hypertrophic or restrictive cardiomyopathy
- Infiltrative cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy
- Hypoplastic left-heart syndrome in the neonate
Transplant as a Last Step
When a person suffers from any of these conditions, there needs to be an intervention made through medication and other devices. When none of these methods work, the only option that remains is that of a heart transplantation. But that is not at all as easy as it looks because there are a number of complications that have to be tackled before one even gets a heart transplant.
Conditions for Heart Transplant
Age: Although people of all ages can benefit from a heart transplant (all those, that is, who have a potentially dangerous heart condition), this procedure is not carried out for those who have crossed the 65 years age mark.
Life Expectancy: Those people who have an estimated life expectancy of less than a year if a heart transplant is not carried out, are sufficiently eligible for a transplant.
Severity of Condition: There needs to be a documented proof provided of the advancement in the heart disease that leaves no option other than a heart transplant procedure.
Family Support: There needs to be strong family support provided to the patient in order to help him with the emotional and physical effects, prior to and after the surgery.
Influx of Diseases: A certain influx of diseases like cancer (last stage), artery diseases, irreversible pulmonary tension and dysfunction, irreversible liver or kidney dysfunction, severe chronic lung disease, and other such life-threatening diseases which will interfere with the results of the transplant and even after the operation is carried out will affect the quality and length of life for the worst.
Other Criteria: These are some other general criteria that are looked into before a patient is given a heart. For which, most of these need to be in the affirmative:
- If there is a need for an artificial heart or a ventricular assist device to support circulation.
- Increase in the types, dosages, and complexities of the medications.
- Several hospitalizations carried out for heart failure or heart attacks.
- If the amount of oxygen taken in by the body is less than 14 ml/kg per minute.
After all these conditions are fulfilled, there needs to be a heart donor. Who gets a heart is decided by the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) based on the severity of the condition, the time on the wait list, and the geographical distance between the donor center and the hospital.
These were a few facts about the heart transplant criteria and how it is carried out. As for the cost, that could vary from hospital to hospital.
Disclaimer – This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.