Functions of the Heart
The heart is a strong and muscular, cone-shaped organ that is about the size of a fist. It pumps blood throughout the body and is located behind the breastbone between the lungs. Deoxygenated blood flows from the heart to the lungs where it gives up wastes and is freshly oxygenated. From there, the blood returns to the heart and is pumped to the rest of the body. Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to maintain normal body requirements. Birth defects or any condition that damages or overloads the heart muscle can cause it. Treatment depends on the cause of heart failure and the age and condition of the patient.
Heart Transplant Procedures
Most heart transplants involve replacing the patient's heart with the heart from a cadaveric donor. In certain situations, the patient's native heart is not removed; this is known as a heterotopic transplant. There have also been a few transplants in the U.S. involving a living heart donor. This may occur if one patient receives a heart-lung combination transplant but their heart is in good condition. This patient's heart may then be subsequently transplanted into another recipient. This is known as a "domino" heart transplant.
Reasons for Heart Transplants