Total Artificial Heart
Total Artificial Heart

Total Artificial Heart What to Expect Before Surgery


If you are not already in the hospital, you will likely spend at least a week there to prepare for surgery for a total artificial heart (TAH). You will continue to take any heart medicines your doctor gave you. During this time, you will learn about the TAH that you are getting and how to protect and care for it.

You and your loved ones will meet with your surgeons, your cardiologist, and other doctors and nurses who specialize in the heart. Your healthcare team will provide you with the information that you need before surgery, including steps you need to take at home to prepare. You can ask to see what the device looks like and how it will be attached inside your body.

Your doctors will make sure that your body is strong enough for the surgery. You may need to get extra nutrition through a feeding tube.

You may have the following tests before your surgery.

  • Blood tests can determine your blood type in case you need blood during surgery, and also to check how well your liver and kidneys are working.
  • Chest imaging tests can take pictures of your heart, lungs, and the inside of your chest to make sure that the TAH, which is large, will fit.
  • Heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), to monitor your heart’s rhythm, and imaging tests to show how well blood is moving through your heart and blood vessels.
  • Lung function tests to measure how well your lungs work and to help determine if you may need a ventilator after the surgery.
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