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4 Reasons You May Need a Heart Transplant

Photo: Courtesy of JC Gellidon

Heart disease, in many people, is preventable and treatable with lifestyle changes medication and devices. However, for some patients, despite all efforts to treat and reverse the effects of heart disease, heart function worsens, making heart transplantation the best option.

Heart failure develops when the heart can’t provide adequate blood flow to sustain the body’s organs, and heart failure is by far the most common reason for an adult needing a heart transplant. But there are a few others, including:

1. Congenital conditions

A severe heart defect present at birth, known as a congenital heart defect.

2. Ventricular arrhythmias

Abnormal heartbeats, not controlled with medication, an implantable defibrillator or an ablation procedure.

3. Severe angina

The term for chest pain, which could necessitate heart transplant when caused by coronary artery disease that persists despite medication, stents and coronary bypass surgery.

4. Post-op complications

Malfunction or infection involving an implanted mechanical heart pump.

Not everyone is eligible for a heart transplant, and several factors may indicate that a heart transplant is not the best option. Older patients may not be good candidates. Also, people with illnesses, such as cancer or other severe diseases and those who smoke, take illicit drugs or use alcoholic excessively would not likely be recommended for a transplant.

Transplants recipients are carefully selected to ensure their body has the best chance of accepting the new heart, and they can follow-up with the complex care that is required after a transplant. Doctors want to not only help their patients beat their heart disease but also to ensure patients have a good quality of life after receiving their new heart.

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