While still considered major surgery, heart transplantation has been around for almost 40 years. Most of the time, problems arise after the person goes home. Some of those problems are fatal. Now a new drug on the horizon is helping transplant patients lead a normal life.
Patients are at risk of two major problems after surgery -- rejection of the donor heart and a condition called cardiac vasculopathy. This is where the arteries in the transplanted heart start to narrow, and they narrow throughout the whole length of the arteries. It's the major cause of death after the first year after transplant .
An experimental drug called Everolimus is found to stop the immune system from attacking the transplanted organ and the overgrowth of cells that causes the arteries to narrow.
Previous studies have shown that, the success rate of Everolimus has doubled however researchers says more tests are needed to confirm this. Hence researchers say patients doing well on standard heart transplant medications will not need to switch to Everolimus for the moment.