A heart transplant, also known as a cardiac transplant, is a highly sensitive procedure that involves the replacement of diseased heart with a healthy, donor heart. This treatment is mostly advised to patients with the end-stage cardiac disease or several coronary artery diseases that cannot be treated with the help of any other intervention. A heart transplant is a rare procedure that is performed at some of the most advanced and technically competent hospitals in the world.
There are several hospitals in Singapore that offer heart transplant to patients with end-stage heart disease. The country is known for its quality of medical treatment and when it comes to a heart transplant, the best hospitals in Singapore rank among the top hospitals in the world that are known to conduct this procedure in an extremely cautious and careful manner. This procedure is performed by some of the most experienced and skilled cardiac surgeons in the country who are educated and trained from globally renowned medical universities.
Singapore is one of the most cost-effective destinations for heart transplant among other popular medical tourism destinations. It is estimated that the heart transplant cost in Singapore is as much as 80 percent less than what it costs in the US. The cost of heart transplant in Singapore, however, depends on several factors, including the cost of surgery, surgeon’s fees hospital charged, the cost of medicines and other consumables, and whether the procedure is conducted along with lung transplant.
A heart transplantation is required in patients with a diseased heart. It is often recommended to patients whose heart function does not improve even after surgeries and continuous and prolonged use of medications. During the heart transplant procedure, the diseased heart is replaced with a fully functional heart. The heart used for replacement is retrieved from a patient who is brain-dead but is still on a life support system.
Because of the unavailability of a sufficient number of brain-dead donors, heart transplant surgery is still a rare procedure, even though it is a life-saving procedure. Moreover, there are just a handful of families who agree to donate the heart of their close ones because of aesthetic reasons. Even though heart transplant procedure is a major one, the chances of survival after the surgery is generally good. However, heart transplant survival rate largely depends on how well the patient has been taken care of after the surgery. Heart transplant surgery is mostly performed in patients with heart failure, which may happen because of any of the following conditions:
Heart transplantation surgery is often coupled with the transplant of some other organ in patients with specific conditions. These organs may include kidney, liver, or lung, depending on the condition of the patient and the ailment he or she is suffering from. Not every heart patients, however, is eligible to undergo the heart transplant surgery. Patients with a previous history of cancer, a major illness that would anyway shorten their lifespan, active infection, advanced age, or unhealthy lifestyle habits are not recommended to undergo heart transplant surgery.
The following steps are typically performed during the heart transplant surgery:
You may expect to receive a couple of medications after the surgery to ease the pain. You may also be kept on a ventilator for a few hours or days to ease beating. Additionally, a chest tube may be put to drain fluids from the chest. You may also expect to receive fluids through IV following the surgery.
Recovery after heart transplantation surgery is slow. You will be required to visit the surgeon for frequent follow-ups. They will advise you to undergo a series of tests every time you visit, including echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and blood tests. You will also be required to undergo heart biopsies to check for signs of organ rejection. During a biopsy, a pathologist will look into a tiny heart tissue under a microscope. Additionally, you will be required to make several long-term adjustments into your schedule after you’ve had a heart transplant. You will be required to take immunosuppressants and make adjustments for medications. You will require an intensive emotional support during cardiac rehabilitation. Therefore, make sure to have your near and dead ones around you during the recovery phase.
You will also be advised to make several adjustments to your lifestyle to speed up recovery. This includes guidelines pertaining to exercising, healthy diet, sunscreen use, and tobacco consumption.
Heart transplant in Singapore is mostly renowned because of the advanced technologies used. The procedure, though complex, is performed by globally recognized surgeons who are celebrated for their in-detail analysis and implementation of necessary procedures. The procedures followed in heart transplant surgeries are:
After changing into the operation gown, the candidate is provided with IV lines or intravenous lines on the upper limb for injecting IV fluids and medications.
Catheters are provided and attached to the wrist, collarbone, neck, or groin region in order to closely observe the blood circulation rate. This also facilitates the testing of blood samples readily.
A Foley catheter is inserted into the urinary bladder for containing the urine. For draining the gastrointestinal fluids, a separate tube is attached to the stomach.
The candidate is shaved or clipped of any chest hair, and the patient is then subjected to anesthesia.
The candidate is made to artificially breathe via a ventilator, the tube of which is attached to the lungs.
The blood pressure, blood oxygen, and the heart rate is monitored by the anesthesiologist.
After sterilizing the skin, a vertical incision is made on the skin right above the sternum, stretching from an inch below the Adam's Apple to an inch before the navel.
The sternum is symmetrically slit vertically and separated to expose your heart.
Tubes mimicking the blood veins and arteries are supplied and connected to the cardiopulmonary bypass device which stores the blood for the time being. The affected heart is then removed keeping the pulmonary vein and the posterior wall of the artery intact.
Once the donor's heart is sewed in position, the device gradually diverts the blood back to the body and the tubes are removed.
The heart may start beating naturally or may be triggered by shock paddles which act as the pacemaker. The beats are then followed by the SA node and picked up by the AV node normally.
The donor's heart is closely monitored for sometime henceforth which, the sternum and the skin are stitched back to position gradually, and bandaged.
The tubes and catheters are also removed.
Heart transplant in Singapore is performed after verifying the candidacy of the patient carefully. The determining factors that make an individual best candidate for heart transplant surgery are:
Terminal stage or minimum hopes of survival with the diseased heart.
Failure of all possible prior medications and treatments that have been implemented.
The candidate shows adequate health apart from the heart anomaly.
The candidate is free from life-threatening or long-term illness or terminal illness.
The candidate is capable of adhering to timely post-surgery treatments and medical supervision.
The hospitals offering heart transplant in Singapore have been serving mankind for decades. These hospitals are supremely decorated with cutting-edge technology for providing extreme efficiency. Paired with globally acclaimed surgeons, the hospitals are furnished with multispecialty facilities and luxurious stay.
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
Parkway East Hospital
The cost of a heart transplant is determined by the number of laboratory tests, transportation cost, organ storage, medical facilities and a lot more. Heart transplant cost in Singapore is quite affordable as compared to the major countries like the USA and the UK. While the latter is reported to charge approximately $1,40,000, Singapore offers an affordable rate of USD $56,827 on average.
Post-surgery, the candidate is observed in the hospital for 10 days to two weeks depending on the complexity. Hence, they are also advised to remain within thirty minutes of driving radius from the hospital for approximately five to six months. However, the candidate is said to completely recover after four to six or above months depending on the complications.
In spite of affordable heart transplant costs in Singapore, the quality of the heart of the medical facilities is never compromised. With the help of topmost surgeons and advanced technology, the heart transplant survival rate in Singapore is estimated to be 80% in the primary stages, with candidates surpassing 15-20 years of added lifespan.
Heart transplant in Singapore shall be considered because it is:
Affordable compared to other countries providing similar facilities
Performed by proficient surgeons with decades of experience
Furnished with progressed and up-to-date technology
Facilitated with unparalleled medical assistance
Paired with extreme hospitality and through observation.
Even though almost all operations project some risk factors, the ones attached to heart transplants should be closely monitored. Hence, the possible risk factors are:
Blood loss during or post-operative measures
Infection, even after regular administration of anti-infective drugs
Formation of blood clots which may lead to cardiac arrest or stroke
Thickening or hardening of the arteries known as Coronary Allograft Vasculopathy
Rejection of the donor’s heart
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