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Life Expectancy After a Heart Transplant

written by: Ms Lisa • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 8/19/2010

Statistics show that life expectancy after a heart transplant can be improved by taking proper medications, eating properly, and regular exercise.

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    Statistics Of Life Expectancy

    Life expectancy after a heart transplant is 85%, the first year.smallheart  About 95% of the patients who had the transplant, have a significant improvement in their quality of life too.

    The first historical heart transplant surgery to be performed in the United States was in January 1969. Since then, with the advancement in medical technology, heart transplant surgeries are responsible for saving over 2000 lives a year.

    In the United States, 72.4% of heart recipients have been male. 65.5% of those recipients were caucasian.19.4% was of the ages 35 to 49 years of age, and 54.2% were 50 or older.

    According to the Journal of the American Heart Association, the one-year survival rate was 88.0% for males and 77.2% for females. The three-year survival rate was approximately 79.3% for males and 77.2% for the females. They concluded in their statistics that the five-year survival showed 67.4% for females and was 73.1% for males. Statistics have shown that life expectancy at 10 years after transplant is 49%.

    Researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center suggest, that the increasing number of the heart transplant patients to survive10 years after the procedure are contributed to medications and living in a healthy lifestyle.

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    Patient's can Increase Their Survival After A Heart Transplant

    To increase the life expectancy after a heart transplant, medications are given to boost the immune system to prevent viral infections, and to prevent rejections of the transplanted heart. Statistics have proven that patients who have taken preventative medication have a higher chance of survival than those who do not take their medication as prescribed.

    A transplant patient can improve his/her life expectancy by maintaining their optimum weight. Excessive weight gain increases how hard the heart has to work to pump blood into the rest of the body. Eating a proper healthy diet goes a long way in adding quality to the life of heart transplant recipients.

    Patients should abstain from using tobacco, alcohol and caffeine. These factors can add more stress to the heart and cause more health problems. Smoking decreases the oxygen that is needed for the red blood cells to distribute it throughout the body. Drinking coffee stimulates the nervous system and can overstimulate the new heart. Drinking alcohol increases the triglycerides in the blood and can cause side effects with the medications that were prescribed.

    Physical exercise can promote faster healing and increase life expectancy after transplant. It is advised, after consulting with their Physician, for patients to have a daily routine of exercise. This would help in rebuilding muscle that was lost before the heart transplant. Exercising enhances mental status and is a great mood booster. Within a few weeks after surgery, the patient should expect to feel better all around.

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    References

    Stanford University Medical Center

    http://med.stanford.edu/

    Journal of the American Heart Association

    http://circ.ahajournals.org/

    U.S. National Library of Medicine

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

    National Institutes of Health

    http://www.nih.gov/

    Photo Credit: sxc.hu/kalyoncu