All About Heart Transplant Surgery

A heart or cardiac transplant is a surgery wherein a diseased or failing heart is replaced with a healthier donor heart. It is performed for patients who are in the end-stage of heart failure. End-stage heart failure is a serious cardiac concern in which the heart is not able to pump blood effectively throughout the body. It can be because of weak or damaged heart muscles (cardiomyopathy), a congenital defect, coronary artery disease, heart valve diseases, congenital heart defect, or dangerous recurring abnormal heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias). The life saving heart transplant surgery is performed by the best Heart Transplant Surgeon in Delhi, Dr. Sujay Shad.

He is known as the best heart specialist in India and specializes in performing lifesaving heart surgeries like Heart Transplants, Coronary Bypasses, HOCM, Aortic Surgery, and Mitral Valve at Best Hospital for Heart Surgery in India, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, located at Rajinder Nagar, Delhi.

Heart transplant surgery is usually reserved for people whose condition has not improved enough with lifestyle changes, medications, less-invasive procedures, or other surgeries. A healthcare team must ensure that the patient meets specific criteria required to undergo heart transplant surgery. Before removing the heart from the donor, the healthcare providers must declare the individual brain dead.  

After a heart transplant, most patients live longer, enjoy a better life quality, have higher energy levels, improved well-being, and can travel or work without much discomfort. 

Who are good candidates for a heart transplant?

People who have advanced heart failure conditions but are otherwise healthy may consider a heart transplant. However, it is not recommended for the one who:

  • Are very old that would interfere with the ability to recover from transplant surgery (expected recipient age is under 65 years old) 
  • Have serious medical conditions, multi-organ failure, or cancer that shortens life
  • Have an active infection
  • Are not committed to lifestyle changes necessary to keep donor heart-healthy, including eating healthy, quitting smoking, and exercising. 

Heart Transplant Surgery Procedure: 

A heart transplant is an open-heart surgery that takes approximately four hours to complete and is performed under general anesthesia. 

During the surgery, the patient is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine to keep oxygen-rich blood flowing throughout their body. A ventilator is used to help the patient breathe through the machine rather than lungs. 

The surgeon makes an incision in the chest, separates the breast bones, and opens the rib cage to expose the diseased heart of the patient. The ailing heart is removed keeping intact the back wall of the left atrium and the pulmonary vein openings. This step is done to prepare the patient to receive a new healthy heart.  

Next, the surgeon sews the donor heart into the place and joins the major blood vessels to it. As soon as the blood flow to the new heart is resumed, it starts beating. At times, an electric shock is needed to make the donor’s heart beat properly. The cost of heart transplant surgery can vary from patient to patient. To know more about the Heart Transplant Surgery Cost in India, one can consult Dr. Sujay Shad, best heart transplant doctor at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.


Soon after the surgery, the patients are shifted to an ICU where they are closely monitored for their vitals, given pain-relieving medications, and outfitted with drainage tubes to eliminate the excess body fluids from the chest cavity. A hospital stay of about one to three weeks is recommended for recovery. 


The patient will need to make several long-term adjustments after having a heart transplant. These include:

  • Taking anti-rejection drugs- Immunosuppressants reduce the immune system activity to prevent it from attacking the donated heart. This ensures that the body does not reject the donor’s heart. 
  • Managing medicinal drugs, therapies, and a long-lasting care plan – After a heart transplant, taking all the medications as the doctor instructs and following a lifelong care plan is essential. 
  • Cardiac rehabilitation – These programs incorporate exercise and education to help improve health and recovery after a heart transplant. It can help regain strength and improve quality of life. 
  • Lifestyle changes- The patient must have a heart-healthy diet to avoid problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Dietitian’s recommendations may include daily intake of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread, cereals, and other grains, lean meats, and low-fat milk (to increase calcium levels). A low-salt diet must be maintained and the body must be kept well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. On doctor recommendation, the patient must avoid eating saturated or trans fats, grapefruit juice, excessive alcohol, and smoking. 

To know more about heart transplantation surgery and other lifesaving heart surgeries in detail consult the Best Heart Surgeon & Cardiac Bypass Surgeon in Delhi, Dr. Sujay Shad.

Published by drsujayshad

Dr Sujay Shad is Professor and Senior Consultant of Cardiac Surgery and Director of Cardiac Transplants. He is also the Co-Chairman of his department. He performs life-saving operations on some of the most high-risk patients in his field. He is also the first cardiac surgeon to successfully perform Heart Transplants in a private hospital in North India.

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