Heart Transplant Risk Factors and Disability: What You Need to Know

Getting a heart transplant is a bittersweet experience. Although your body will eventually be healthier with the new organ, you know that you will have challenges as you go through the process. As with any major procedure, knowing the risk factors of having a heart transplant will help you know what to watch out for as you heal.

Top Risk Factors of Heart Transplants

Your doctor will go through the details of the specific risks you face. By educating yourself before your procedure, you are in a better position to notice any other complications that may arise. You know your body better than anyone. With knowledge about common complications, you can give your body the best care possible.

Here is some of the top risk factors heart transplant recipients face after surgery:

  • New Heart Failure. Sometimes, the donor heart does not work properly in someone else’s body. This happens for two reasons. Either the primary graft does not function correctly and fails to pump the blood to the rest of the body, or the arteries harden, stopping circulation. Your doctor will keep a close watch immediately after your surgery to make sure neither of these occur.
  • Body Rejecting the Heart. It’s hard to predict how your body will react to the introduction of a foreign body—including a donated organ. There is usually some sort of minor rejection of the heart in the beginning, but most times medicine will ease the body’s acceptance of the transplant. Sometimes, though, the heart is not the right match. If that is the case, the organ must be removed immediately.
  • Medication Complications. The medication you receive to help your new heart adapt to your body (and vice versa) has side effects. Sometimes, these side effects cause other complications, such as kidney damage, infection, or cancer. Keep a close watch on how your body reacts and be open and honest with your doctor about any abnormalities you feel.

Social Security Disability Helps You Rest More Easily After Your Heart Transplant

Recovering from a heart transplant is serious business. There is one thing that the Social Security Administration does to help you rest a little bit easier after your heart transplant; it automatically approves you for Social Security disability for one year.

Every person who undergoes this vital surgery is considered disabled for the following year. If you do experience any other complications, you might qualify to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) for longer than one year. Talk to an SSDI lawyer in Boston to find out if you are eligible.

Did someone you know just undergo a heart transplant? Help make his life a little bit easier during this challenging time by sending this article.

John L. Keefe
Connect with me
Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer