Heart transplant

A surgical procedure in which a diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased person. The world’s first heart transplant was done on December 3, 1967 by South African surgeon Christiaan Bernard (1922-2001). The recipient was Louis Washkansky, a grocer. The surgery went well. However, Mr. Washkansky was left vulnerable to infection from the large doses of immune-suppressing drugs (azathioprine and hydrocortisone) and radiation he received. He died of pneumonia 18 days after surgery. The second human heart transplant was also done by Dr. Barnard. On Jan. 2, 1968, Dr. Barnard transplanted the heart of a young man into a retired dentist, Philip Blaiberg. (The young man was of "mixed race" while Dr. Blaiberg was white. The fact that Dr. Bernard ignored racial barriers caused a sensation in apartheid South Africa.) The amount of antirejection drugs was reduced and Dr. Blaiberg survived for 19 months and 15 days. He died of chronic organ rejection. Heart transplant surgery has now become a standard procedure. It had been done about 100,000 times as of 2001 and was carried out on about 2,100 patients in 160 hospitals in the U.S. in 2001, with a one-year success rate of 85-90% and a five-year success rate of 75%. There have been two main barriers to successful heart transplants. The first barrier has been rejection of the donor heart by the patient, as occurred in the case of Dr. Blaiberg. Cyclosporine, which was introduced in 1983, and other medications to control rejection have greatly improved the survival of transplant patients. The second barrier to increasing the number of successful transplantations continues to be the availability of donor hearts. Donors are individuals who are brain dead, meaning that the brain shows no signs of life while the person's body is being kept alive by a machine. Donors may have died in an automobile accident or from a stroke, a gunshot wound, suicide, or a head injury. Most hearts come from those who die before age 45. Donor organs are located in the U.S. through the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Not enough organs are available for transplant. A patient may wait months for a transplant. More than 25% do not live long enough. The donor heart is completely removed and quickly transported to the patient, who may be located at some considerable distance. The heart is cooled and kept in a special solution while being taken to the patient. During the operation, the patient is placed on a heart-lung machine which allows bypass of blood flow to the heart and lungs. The machine pumps the blood throughout the rest of the body, removing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen needed by body tissues. The patient's heart is removed except for the back walls of the atria, the heart's upper chambers. The backs of the atria on the new heart are opened and the heart is sewn into place. Surgeons then connect the blood vessels and allow blood to flow through the heart and lungs. As the heart warms up, it begins beating. Patients are usually up and around a few days after surgery and, if there are no signs of the body immediately rejecting the heart, are home within 2 weeks.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • heart transplant — Procedure to remove a diseased heart and replace it with a healthy one from a legally dead donor. The first was performed in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard. The diseased heart is removed (except for some atrial tissue to preserve nerve connections to …   Universalium

  • heart transplant — /ˈhat trænsplænt/ (say haht transplant) noun a transplant operation in which a person s diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a donor …   Australian English dictionary

  • heart transplant — surgical procedure involving the transfer of a heart from one body to another …   English contemporary dictionary

  • beating-heart transplant — noun A heart transplant operation in which the donor heart is kept full of blood and continues to beat in a machine between donor and recipient …   Wiktionary

  • Heart transplantation — or cardiac transplantation, is a surgical transplant procedure performed on patients with end stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. The most common procedure is to take a working heart from a recently deceased organ donor… …   Wikipedia

  • Heart–lung transplant — Intervention ICD 9 CM 33.6 MeSH …   Wikipedia

  • Heart failure — Classification and external resources The major signs and symptoms of heart failure. ICD 10 I5 …   Wikipedia

  • transplant — (v.) mid 15c., from L.L. transplantare plant again in a different place, from L. trans across (see TRANS (Cf. trans )) + plantare to plant (see PLANT (Cf. plant)). Extended to people (1550s) and then to organs or tissue (1786). The noun, in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • transplant — transplantable, adj. transplantation, n. transplanter, n. v. /trans plant , plahnt /; n. /trans plant , plahnt /, v.t. 1. to remove (a plant) from one place and plant it in another. 2. Surg. to transfer (an organ, tissue, etc.) from one part of… …   Universalium

  • Heart-lung transplant — Interventions infobox Name = PAGENAME Caption = ICD10 = ICD9 = 33.6 MeshID = D016041 OtherCodes = A heart lung transplant is a procedure carried out to replace both heart and lungs in a single operation. Due to a shortage of suitable donors, it… …   Wikipedia

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