CNN Vital Signs shows the step by step for a heart transplant

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In a first-of-its-kind surgery, a 57-year-old patient with end-stage heart disease received a successful transplant of a genetically modified pig heart. The patient remains well and under observation after the procedure.

The operation was performed by specialists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine at the University’s Medical Center in the United States.

This week, the CNN Vital Signs shows the step-by-step process for performing a common heart transplant, from the capture of the human organ to the arrival at the hospital. The episode will also tell stories of lives that were transformed with the arrival of new hearts, after waiting on the transplant list.

The rerun of the episode will air this Wednesday (19), at 22:30, right after the CNN newspaper, in the prime range of CNN Brasil.

The program includes cardiologists Fábio Jatene, director of the cardiovascular surgery division at the Instituto do Coração (Incor) in São Paulo; João David de Souza Neto, coordinator of the Transplantation Unit at Hospital de Messejana, in Fortaleza, and Nadine Clausell, president of Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre.

Awareness about organ donation

The Incor specialist, Fábio Jatene, believes that one of the biggest challenges for heart transplants is keeping the donor alive. “The donor is a patient who has suffered a very serious neurologically irreversible problem. Before long, your heart will stop working. We have to be very agile exactly at that moment: between the authorization and the transplant”, he explained (see interview in the video above).

According to Jatene, the number of organ donors available in Brazil is still a problem for carrying out operations. “Overall, half of the organs that could be donated are actually donated. Despite changes in legislation that have taken place over the years, there is a need for authorization from the family”, he said.

For him, public awareness is essential. “People need to understand that transplantation is an effective way to treat. Transplanted people go back to work, to do sports, to have family and social participation again”, he said.

The role of SUS in transplants in Brazil

The National Transplant System was created in 1997 and integrates the Health Departments of all states and municipalities, in a coordinated structure to centralize the notification of organ donations.

“Brazil has the National Transplant System, in which the Unified Health System (SUS) funds the largest transplant program in the world by the public sector. This has to be highly valued and brought to the fore as a need to really bring about an improvement in the health of our population. Offering transplants is offering life,” said Nadine.

The Hospital de Messejana, in Fortaleza, Ceará, is a reference in heart transplantation for the North and Northeast regions. Since the creation of the transplant program in 1997, 501 operations have been performed. “We have always had a very optimistic view here at the hospital, with the aim of encouraging transplants in states that did not perform them”, stated João David.

However, the expert points out that the pandemic has led to a drop in the number of operations.

(Posted by Lucas Rocha of CNN)

Reference: CNN Brasil

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