A heart transplant removes a damaged or diseased heart and replaces it with a healthy one. The healthy heart comes from a donor who has died. It is the last resort for people with heart failure when all other treatments have failed. The heart failure might have been caused by coronary heart disease, damaged heart valves or heart muscles, congenital heart defects, or viral infections of the heart.
Although heart transplant surgery is a life-saving measure, it has many risks. Careful monitoring, treatment, and regular medical care can prevent or help manage some of these risks.
After the surgery, most heart transplant patients can return to their normal levels of activity. However, fewer than 30 percent return to work for many different reasons.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- Cardiac Rehabilitation: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Guide to Your Health Care: After Heart Transplantation (International Transplant Nurses Society) - PDF
Statistics and Research
- The SRTR/OPTN Annual Data Report (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Heart Transplantation (National Institutes of Health)