Auckland DHB Cardiothoracic and Vascular Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit
Heart or lung transplant surgery can be performed on patients with end stage heart or lung failure with poor life expectancy. Often other treatments have already been considered or attempted prior to recommendation. Some patients are not suitable for transplant surgery.
In heart surgery the patient is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon then removes the faulty heart, leaving part of the main vessels to attach the new donor heart to The new heart is placed where the old one was and reattached to the blood vessels. The new heart is restarted and the heart-lung bypass machine removed. Finally the chest is closed and sewn back together.
The most common procedure for lung transplants is a single lung transplant. Here the faulty lung is collapsed, the blood vessels in the lung are tied off and the lung is removed at the bronchial tree. The donor lung is placed in the chest cavity, the blood vessels reattached and the lung re-inflated.