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|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).
- Had other treatments that have not been successful, such as, surgery and medication
- 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 medications
- Preexisting heart or lung conditions
- 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 medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Do not take over-the-counter medication 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
- Work with a physical therapist. Keep in mind that your new heart will respond slowly to increases in physical activity.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- 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
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2015
- Update Date: 12/20/2014