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
- Guide to Your Health Care: After Heart Transplantation (International Transplant Nurses Society) - PDF
- MedlinePlus: Cardiac Rehabilitation (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- What to Expect After a Heart Transplant (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- About the Operation: Heart Transplant (United Network for Organ Sharing)
- Implantable Medical Devices (American Heart Association)
- What Are the Risks of Heart Transplant? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- What Is a Total Artificial Heart? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- What Is a Ventricular Assist Device? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Statistics and Research
- Transplant Program Reports (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Heart Transplantation (National Institutes of Health)