|The Heart and Lungs|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Reasons for Procedure
- An irreversible, life-threatening lung disease that affects the heart (but are in otherwise good health)—An example of this is severe pulmonary hypertension (an increase in blood pressure in the lung's blood vessels).
- Have undergone other treatments (such as, surgery, medicine) without success
- Rejection of the donor heart or lungs
- Coronary artery disease
- Blood clots
- Decreased brain functioning
- Damage to other organs, like the kidneys
- Irregular heart rate
- Anesthesia-related problems
- Infection or cancer related to taking immunosuppressive medicines
- Preexisting heart or lung conditions
- Age: 60 or older
- Kidney or liver disease
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Continued substance abuse or alcohol abuse
- Poor circulation
- Autoimmune disease
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood tests—to make sure your liver and kidneys are functioning normally
- Identify your blood group
- Tissue typing
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as, aspirin)
- Blood thinners, like clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Do not take over-the-counter medicine without checking with your doctor.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
- Arrange for help at home after the surgery.
- Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
- Heart monitor
- Pacing wires used to help control heart rate
- Tubes connected to a machine that helps drain excess blood and air from the chest cavity
- Breathing tube, until you can breathe on your own
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Breathe deeply and cough 10-20 times every hour to help keep your lungs working well.
- Take immunosuppressive drugs—You will likely need to take these for the rest of your life. These drugs reduce the chance that your body will reject the new heart.
- Have persistent fever
- Have poor heart function
- Do not feel well
- Take medicines as directed.
- Work with a physical therapist. Keep in mind that your new heart will respond slowly to increases in physical activity.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills—You are at increased risk for infection because of the immunosuppressive drugs.
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting
- Increased sputum (phlegm) production
- Coughing up blood
- Waking up at night due to being short of breath
- Sudden headache or feeling faint
- Changes in weight or blood pressure
- Chest pain or sensation of your heart fluttering, missing beats, or beating erratically
- Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Excessive tiredness or swelling of feet
Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients http://www.srtr.org
Transplant Living http://www.transplantliving.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
Surgery and other medical procedures for heart failure. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/PreventionTreatmentofHeartFailure/Surgical-Procedures%5FUCM%5F306345%5FArticle.jsp. Updated April 2009. Accessed September 4, 2009.
What is a lung transplant? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/lungtxp. Updated December 2008. Accessed September 4, 2009.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/14/2014 -