A heart transplant is sometimes the only treatment option if the heart is severely damaged by a disorder such as dilated cardiomyopathy. However, there may be a long wait before a suitable donor heart is found. During the operation, the heart’s normal function is taken over by a heart–lung machine (see Surgery using a heart–lung machine). The operation takes between 3 and 5 hours. You will need lifelong drug treatment to prevent the body from rejecting the donor heart. About 4 in 5 people survive for 5 years or more after having a heart transplant.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.