How do heart transplants work
Heart transplantation involves the placement of a healthy heart from a (brain dead) cadaveric donor into the recipient with end-stage heart disease.
The surgery involves:
· A major incision down your chest. Your breastbone is split in half.
· You are connected to a heart lung bypass machine to support your blood circulation and breathing, to nourish the rest of the body.
· Most heart transplants are done through a method called orthotopic, cardiac transplantation, where most of your heart is removed and the donor heart is stitched into its place. The front half of the donor heart is sewn to the back half of the old heart.
· The donor's aorta and pulmonary arteries are connected to yours. The bypass machine is disconnected and your new heart begins the work of pumping blood.
· Your incisions are closed, and you are transferred to intensive care unit for observation and recovery.