A heart transplant is required in cases of heart failure. Coronary heart disease can lead to heart failure. The heart fails to pump sufficient blood and organs are starved of oxygen. There are different degrees of severity of heart failure.
A consultant assesses the patient's condition. If other treatments are not managing the heart condition, a transplant may be recommended and a patient will be put on a waiting list. A transplant puts major strain on the body, and the benefits and risks will be evaluated including whether the patient's condition is sufficiently severe and other health factors.
There is a shortage of donor hearts in the UK. Only around 200 transplants are carried out each year in a small number of hospitals.
Artificial hearts are plastic devices used occasionally to keep patients alive whilst waiting for a heart transplant. They can also be used to allow a patient's heart to rest to help it recover.
After the transplant, the patient will: