Benefits and risks of a heart transplant
How a heart transplant can help and problems that might occur
- For carefully selected patients with advanced heart failure, a heart transplant provides the best quality of life and survival
- Most people who have a heart transplant do well
- However, not every patient feels better or lives longer after having a transplant
- There can be serious risks from the surgery and the transplant medicines
What are the benefits?
In carefully selected patients, a heart transplant is usually the best treatment for heart failure in patients who are fit enough for the operation.
Main advantages of a successful heart transplant:
- Most heart transplant patients live longer
- Most heart transplant patients enjoy a better quality of life
- Higher energy levels
- Improved general well-being
- Work and travel is easier
What are the risks?
A heart transplant requires complex surgery and can cause problems for some patients.
Main complications of a heart transplant:
- It is a major operation and comes with surgical risks, like bleeding
- You will need to take powerful medicines to suppress your immune system
- It is possible that the transplanted heart will not work well enough to maintain the circulation
- There is a risk of dying afterwards, this is highest in the first few months
Average survival statistics
The average patient survival after a heart transplant in the UK is 14 years.
However, life expectancy for patients after a heart transplant is very variable depending on age and other medical issues.
85 in 100
Patients are alive one year after a heart transplant*
72 in 100
Patients are alive five years after a heart transplant*
Discuss your options with your doctor
If you’re considering a heart transplant, your first step is to talk to your heart doctor.
If you and your doctor agree a heart transplant may be a good treatment for you, they will arrange for you to have a series of tests.