Have you ever wondered what happens during a heart transplant operation? The surgical team at Baylor University Medical Center (@BaylorHealth) in Dallas understands the curiosity. On Monday night, the hospital offered the public an intimate look at the process of one patient's heart transplant journey using the hashtag #HeartTXLive and also #heartTX.
While hospitals have tweeted about organ transplant surgeries before, this is believed to be the first one to be tweeted in real time. The hospital says they chose to tell the story from the patient's point of view, and also documented the surgery with photos and video.
Dr. Gonzo Gonzalez (@HRTTRNSPLNTMD), chief of cardiac surgery and heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support at Baylor University Medical Center assisted with the live tweets, while Dr. Juan MacHannaford performed the surgery.
To protect the patient's identity, the hospital used pseudonyms for the patient and her husband, referring to them as Jane and John in the tweets. Jane was born with cardiomyopathy, which causes an enlargement of the heart muscle and structural problems. In Jane's case, she was born with an abnormal left ventricle, and had a bacterial infection at 3 months old that caused her to go into cardiac arrest.
The live tweets paint a picture of the stress that comes with performing such a high-profile and high-risk surgery -- from waiting for the donor organ's arrival to the complex process of removing the patient's heart, implanting the new one and ensuring it's beating and circulating the patient's blood inside her body. Here are some highlights: