There is a point in our life when we have to deal with many health conditions. At one point, unfortunately, one or multiple organs may fail to function properly, and in the end, this can lead to quite the challenge and problems.
With that in mind, even if a person dies, he/she can give a consent beforehand so their heart can be used for studies or they can even approve things like heart donation. Alternatively, a person can leave this choice up to his/her family after their death. Either way, this can be a great opportunity that is in dire need of help and whose health will obviously depend on a potential heart transplant.
What should you know about the procedure?
Once you donate your heart, a heart transplant will be needed in order to transfer the healthy heart to the person that needs it. That being said, the process is very meticulous, and usually, it can require a team of doctors. Such a surgical transplant procedure is recommended especially when a patient has the end-stage heart failure or coronary artery disease. In this type of situation, eliminating heart problems can be crucial, and via a heart donation and heart transplant, the process will be possible.
When it comes to the procedure on its own, the idea is to take a fully functioning heart from the recently deceased organ donor and then you have to implant it into the patient. The heart of the receiving patient will need to be removed via cardiectomy, or it can be left there to support the donor’s heart. Leaving the heart there is not a common thing to do, as sometimes doctors are afraid of any potential issues that may appear in the end. But it can be done, it all comes down to the doctors and the health state of that patient, to begin with.
Is heart donation necessary?
As you can imagine, there are lots of people that are in dire need of a heart transplant, so they do tend to wait on heart donation lists until they receive a compatible heart. This is unfortunate because for most of the time a heart donation is the only chance they have of continuing their life. Some people that are on the waiting lists are in the final stages of their life, and a heart donation is the only thing that can help them.
Most of the time, the heart transplants are performed at that time when none of the other potential treatments have worked. So, if the patient is in the process of dealing with a heart failure, then this is the best option.
The causes of heart failure in the case of adults include things like cardiomyopathy, as well as coronary artery disease, as well as valvular heart disease, heart problems encountered at birth as well as a failure from previous transplants. However, transplant failures are uncommon, in 99% or more of those situations there will be no issues. So yes, a transplant is safe, and many times it can be the only option for a lot of people.
According to DonateLife, there are around 4000 people in the US that are waiting at any given time to receive any heart donation news. So yes, thanks to heart donation, you can easily save someone else’s life, and that can easily help take things to the next level for that particular person. It may not matter for the deceased person, but heart donation can be one of those things that can help another person move on in their life. That’s the reason why it can be crucial to donate your heart or the heart of a person from your family that just deceased. Heart donation can make a massive difference, and with the right approach, it can save a lot of lives. That alone shows the true benefit of heart donation, and it brings you all the reasons why you may want to opt for something like this.
What happens after heart donation?
Usually, the donated hearts are allocated to patients based on a variety of criteria. This means they will be categorized according to things like blood group compatibility, size match as well as medical urgency and time on the waiting list. All of these are crucial factors that you need to think about, so you have to take your time and adapt that the best way you can. One thing is certain, results can be very impressive, and heart donation can save a person’s life. So yes, it can be an incredible opportunity for anyone.
Moreover, the transplant recipients will have to take medication after the transplant is over. The reason is simple; it can be hard for a body to adapt to a new organ, so the medication offered in this situation is designed to make this transition period faster and painless. It can be extremely important, so you have to keep that in mind the best way you can.
What should you know about the organ donation process?
Depending on the country you live in, you will see that the organ donation process will vary a bit. But usually, there are similar steps that you need to focus on regardless of where you live.
First, the transplant recipient needs to be evaluated and prepared for the process. Even if a heart transplant is needed when heart failure appears, the reality is that the patient has to be carefully assessed. There are situations when a heart transplant may be able to work a lot better this way, so you have to adapt to the situation. That’s why the heart transplant team will determine all of this.
Then it’s all about finding organ donors. It usually depends on what type of people are suitable for a heart donation. But most of the time, the best hearts for transplants come from people that had a major stroke, which injured their brain or which dealt with an organ failure such as kidney failure or pulmonary failure. If these happen and the person dies, then their family (or even that person via a will), can give the ok to continue with a heart donation. Obviously, this means that the heart needs to be extracted as fast as possible and it will be stored in a designated container until it will be used.
Finding the right match for the organ that was just extracted from the donor can be rather tricky. Usually, the match is made via blood type, yet you have to realize that the size is also very important. Children need to receive organs from other children, whereas adults need to receive a heart from another adult.
The process is carefully monitored by the heart transplant team and they will work very hard to make sure that any potential matches are found fast and without any problem. Doing this can be the tricky part though.
The reason is simple, aside from blood type matches, the donor and the person that receives that heart needs to be tested for diseases and viruses as well. If the donated heart comes with various viruses, then this can cause lots of problems for the recipient. So, the situation has to be assessed with a lot of attention to detail. Otherwise, the transplant can be insufficient and inefficient for the recipient, which in the end may deal with other complications.
Usually, if the donor has AIDS or any other dangerous viruses, the organs will not be used, even if they are compatible with the potential recipient. Even if there are chances that any issue may be missed, the reality is that the chances of this happening are very low. However, the medical teams are working very hard to ensure that this will not happen. That’s why it can take a bit of time to find the right donor for a person because there are lots of tests that need to happen before the OK is given for a potential transplant.
Waiting for a transplant
Once the medical team is sure that a person needs a heart transplant, they will put them on the waiting list. How much will you have to wait and how long does it take to be on that list? As we mentioned above, there are tons of factors that the medical team has to take into consideration. Even the slightest issue can be problematic, so you have to make sure that you avoid any potential problems the best way you can. If you encounter any additional health issues in the meantime, there is a chance that you will end up even lower on the waiting list. So, make sure that you stay in good health while waiting for a donor.
That being said, the wait can take anything from a day to a year or two years. There is no way of knowing how much time you will have to wait, but doctors will try to make sure that your wait is not very long most of the time.
Why should you donate your heart?
As you can see above, it can take a lot of time for a person to receive a heart transplant. There are lots of waiting lists and people that are in dire need of help. Those donor lists are extremely challenging to handle, and most of the time they can require a hefty, prolonged wait that no one is ready for.
That being said, if a person is dealing with various health problems that can lead to death, yet the heart is still intact, then it can be a very good idea to donate that heart. While some donate their hearts or organs to science, there are many other people that want to save a life the best way they can. Being able to donate a heart is one of the best things a person can do because even after death, they can still make a difference in this world and save a life that was potentially over without their help.
The prospect of saving a person’s life is amazing. And while there are some solutions like using an LVAD device, the reality is that even such a solution is a temporary one. In order for a person that has heart issues to live onward without any problem, he/she will have to receive a heart transplant sooner rather than later.
That being said, the wait for a heart donor can be around 4 months on average in the US alone. Some people are lucky; others have to wait a year or more. But regardless of the situation, it’s safe to say that a lot more people are ok with donating their hearts and organs after death. It’s the best option, and it can still save many lives as a result. Yes, it’s not the easiest procedure, and it involves quite a lot of tests, but in the end, it enables a person to make a difference and save a life that would otherwise perish, even if there were chances to save it.
According to the American Heart Association, a heart transplant can help a person get a fulfilling, thriving and active life. There may be a need for additional surgery at times, but a heart donation can easily save that life.
So yes, this is the best time to become a heart donor. With thousands of people on the waiting list, it’s very important to figure out what you do with your organs and more specifically your heart after you die. If you can make a difference like this and save lives, then you should most likely consider doing such a thing as fast as possible. Yes, it can be time-consuming and be challenging at times, but the sheer fact that you can help someone’s life even post-mortem can be astonishing. Plus, there are lots of families that find heart donation a reasonable idea. Heart donation is crucial, a lot of people are actively looking for a suitable heart, and you may be the one that gives them hope and a new life in the end!