The Irish Times
‘THE FIRST time I saw it I was amazed, and we are still amazed every time we see it,” says Dr Jim McCarthy of the heart transplants he performs.
A cardiothoracic surgeon at the Mater hospital, the first and only hospital in the State to perform heart transplants, McCarthy is also vice-president of the Irish Heart Foundation.
With his hospital having carried out 10 heart transplants already this year, the people who come under McCarthy’s care are at the end stages of heart failure. “Their heart isn’t really an efficient pump anymore,” he explains. Feeling breathlessness and extreme fatigue, the reasons for their heart failure can vary.
“Often it’s a disease of the heart muscle called cardiomyopathy,” he says. Or it can be down to coronary artery disease due to family history, high cholesterol or blood pressure or diabetes. While in the earlier stages patients can be treated with medication, special pacemakers or artificial hearts, for others a heart transplant is their best or only course.