Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Details on Heart Transplants FYI
Over the last couple of years, we have been asked several times, "Why don't they just give him a heart transplant?" There is a lot of logic to that question because it makes sense to get a healthy, perfectly formed heart in exchange for a diseased, overworked, misshapen heart. Heart parents learn quickly that heart transplant is a "last resort" and the "least desired" route. The reasons center around inevitable rejection and lifelong invasive procedures to check for rejection. Often times, the anti-rejection meds actually cause cancer so then the child is faced with chemo treatments. Here is a little info from another children's hospital that gives answers to FAQ's about pediatric heart transplantation. The number I have seen a lot concerning life expectancy of a transplanted heart is in the neighborhood of 10 years. Even if a healthy heart did last him into adulthood, he would need retransplantation at some point because transplanted hearts develop coronary artery disease. Often patients have to have monthly biopsies of the heart done via cath to check rejection level and adjust meds. Let's just say that that choice is certainly not "the easy fix" or the one that provides for the best quality of life. Don't get me wrong, heart transplant far exceeds death, but if we can, we'd like him to keep his own heart as long as possible! Just for the record.
Posted by Erin Beckemeier at 10:02 PM