ELi5 How do heart transplant reciprocates not die



Do they have to take the heart out. I’m very confused

In: Biology

>Do they have to take the heart out. I’m very confused

During the operation a machine is used to take over the pumping of blood in the interim. A body’s cells don’t care how the circulatory system operates as long as it *does* operate somehow.

Yep. They hook up a machine that breathes and pumps blood for you. That bypasses the heart, so they can stop it an remove it. Then replace it and reverse the process.

Reciprocant?.. recipient?

They die for a short time just not biologically but clinically. Clinical death is when your heart stops, you can still recover from that. Biological death is when the nervous system damages beyond recovery. You wont return from that. After you are clinically dead for a few minutes you are biologically dead. But what really dies fast is the brain if you supply oxygen to the brain the patient wont technically die. The other parts of the body can get damaged but only after minutes of no blood circulation.

I believe they’re hooked up to a machine that helps circulation continue in their body so that they don’t die during the process; And yeah, they have to take the heart out, but it’s really worth it when the transplant is over and the patient survives. 🙂

During the operation, the patient is put on a “heart and lung machine”, a mechanical machine that takes care of oxygenating and pumping the blood while the surgeon works.

Once the new heard is successfully implanted, it takes just a little bit of work to get pumping on its own. Fun fact: It takes weeks or even months for the patient’s nervous system to properly connect to the heart to tell it how to beat, but in the meantime, the heart just beats on its own! The patient is advised to not exercise or do anything strenuous for the first few weeks/months after surgery, because the heart is just beating at more or less a “resting” rate and can’t yet receive signals from the nervous system to speed up or pump harder.