During the procedure
Heart transplant surgery
Mayo Clinic cardiac surgeons work with a team to perform heart transplant surgery.
Heart transplant surgery is an open heart surgery that takes several hours. If you’ve had previous heart surgeries, the surgery is more complicated and will take longer. You’ll receive medication that causes you to sleep (general anesthesia) before the procedure. Your surgeons will connect you to a heart-lung bypass machine to keep oxygen-rich blood flowing throughout your body.
In this procedure, your surgeon will make an incision in your chest. Your surgeon will separate your chest bone and open your rib cage so that he or she can operate on your heart.
Your surgeon then removes the diseased heart and sews the donor heart into place. He or she then attaches the major blood vessels to the donor heart. The new heart often starts beating when blood flow is restored. Sometimes an electric shock is needed to make the donor heart beat properly.
You’ll be given medication to help with pain after the surgery. You’ll also have a ventilator to help you breathe and tubes in your chest to drain fluids from around your lungs and heart. After surgery, you’ll also receive fluids and medications through intravenous (IV) tubes.