This surgery is conducted to replace the patient's heart with a donor heart. The donor organ is studied for compatibility with the recipient's body tissues and blood prior to the procedure. A transplant is generally conducted due to failure of the left ventricle and sometimes the right ventricle.
Connections are made between the two atria and/or vena cavas to ensure that the two transplanted ventricles can function properly.
A heart transplant lasts 4 to 6 hours and requires two surgical teams.
Patients who may benefit from a heart transplant are first evaluated at the Heart Transplant Clinic. Blood tests and imaging exams are conducted to assess the feasibility of the transplant, and particularly its potential benefits, for each person.
The transplant team will guide the patient throughout all of the exams and clinical follow-up until the transplant.
The procedure is done as soon as Transplant Québec identifies a donor and the heart becomes available. One surgical team removes the heart while another team transplants the donor heart.
After the surgery, patients are transferred to intensive care for 24 to 48 hours. Visits to intensive care are limited to one person for 5 minutes on the day of the surgery and for 15 minutes on the hour starting from 11:00 a.m. the next day.
After this period, patients are then transferred back to the Surgery Unit for 4 to 5 days. In this unit, patients can have visitors during normal visiting hours.
Follow-up is conducted by the transplant team, which includes surgeons and transplant cardiologists.