How does the new heart start beating again after a heart transplant?


People say that the way that defibrillators are used on TV is often incorrect. They don’t shock a stopped heart into beating, rather they shock a heart that’s beating at the wrong rhythm into the correct rhythm. So when a heart is stopped, like after a transplant, how do they make it start beating again?

In: Biology

It’s simple. Apply electricity.

Once all the appropriate conduction pathways are reconnected, and assuming there’s no damage to the donor heart, it’s would work as intended.

When your new heart is fully connected, the blood circulating through the bypass machine will be allowed back into the heart and the tubes to the machine are removed. Your surgeon will shock the heart with small paddles to restart the heartbeat.

Once your new heart starts to beat, the healthcare team will watch the heart to see how it’s working and make sure there are no leaks.

Wires for pacing may be put into the heart. Your surgeon can attach these wires to a pacemaker outside your body for a short time to pace your new heart, if needed, during the initial recovery period