Surgical procedures for terminal heart failure: heart transplantation and artificial ventricles

Heart transplantation means transplanting the healthy heart of a brain-dead donor into a patient with severe heart disease. It is a treatment option for patients whose heart function is so severely impaired, despite exhaustive treatment with medication, that they suffer from breathlessness at the slightest exertion or even at rest.

The life expectancy of such patients without a transplant is generally estimated to be less than one year. Heart transplantation has been established as a routine procedure in Switzerland since 1985. More than 500 heart transplants have been performed in Zurich since 1985. The mortality rate within one year of transplantation is only around ten to fifteen percent. Many patients today achieve a survival time of more than 15 to 20 years.

The surgical procedure is no more complicated than other heart operations, provided it is a first operation. Transplantation is significantly riskier for patients who have already undergone another procedure prior to the heart transplant or who are recipients of an artificial heart. After the operation, patients usually stay in the intensive care unit for two to four days, then another two to three weeks in the normal ward. During this time, the medication to suppress the rejection must be discontinued. The patient is usually more fit shortly after leaving hospital than before the operation. Over the course of two to three months, he or she regains normal resilience and a good quality of life. As a rule, it is also possible to return to work and exercise. Lifelong and very regular check-ups with a specialist cardiologist or general practitioner are important.

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please get a referral from your primary care physician, specialist. For questions please use our contact form.

Contact form

For referrer

Easily assign your patient online.

Tel. +41 44 255 95 82
Assign online

Responsible Department