A heart transplant is carried out with you unconscious under general anaesthetic , and normally takes between four and six hours.
You'll be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, which will take over the functions of the heart and lungs while the transplant is being carried out.
A thin, flexible tube called a urinary catheterisation will also be inserted to drain your bladder during and after the operation.
During the procedure:
You'll be taken off the bypass machine when your new heart starts beating.
Your breastbone will be closed with metal wires, and the tissues and skin will be closed with stitches.
Once the transplant is complete, you'll be moved to an intensive care unit (ICU) .
A machine called a ventilator will assist you with your breathing, and a tube will be inserted into a vein to provide you with fluid and nutrients. These will normally be removed after a few days.
You'll also be given pain relief as required.
Most people are well enough to move from the ICU and into a hospital ward within a few days.
You'll usually be able to leave hospital within two or three weeks, although you'll need to have regular follow-up appointments and take medication to help stop your body rejecting your new heart.
A heart transplant is an operation to replace a damaged or failing heart with a healthy heart from a donor who has recently died. It may be recommended when a person's life is at risk because their heart no longer works effectively.
As donor hearts are scarce, you'll need to be assessed carefully to determine whether a heart transplant is suitable, if your doctor thinks you could benefit from one. The final decision about whether you are suitable for a heart transplant is a joint decision made by the transplant team.
Because of the lack of available hearts, it's rarely possible to have a heart transplant as soon as it's needed, so you'll usually be placed on a waiting list. It may be several months, or possibly years, before a donor heart of the right size and blood groups becomes available.
A heart transplant is carried out with you unconscious under general anaesthetic , and normally takes between four and six hours. You'll be connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, which will take over the functions of the heart and lungs while the transplant is being carried out.
Read about what you can expect after a heart transplant and when you can return to your normal activities.
A heart transplant is a major operation, and there is a risk of several complications. Some complications can occur soon after the procedure, while others may develop months or even years later.
In 1998, Andy Cook was told he had just two days to live. But when a donor heart became available, a transplant saved his life. Bit by bit, Andy regained his strength, but his journey back to health had some setbacks.