The world of cardiac transplant is fascinating and dynamic, involving so much more than was ever imagined. Transplant represents the opportunity for a human life to continue, because another life ended – suddenly and often tragically. Looking at it another way, transplant is a way for the life of the donor to continue on, which is both very special and beautiful.
Of all the organs which may be transplanted, heart transplant is by far the most profound – and that is because of everything the heart represents. We now know that the heart contains its own system of neurons, rivaling that of the brain. The neural networks of the heart interact with that of the brain, such that the heart becomes imprinted, and is where many of our traits, preferences, and personality is stored.
[Picture of me making general public more aware about Atrial Fibrillation and other heart conditions]
Who we are, the very essence of who we are as people, arises as much from our hearts as from our brains. There are many well documented cases of heart transplant, where the recipient of the transplanted heart took on many of the likes and dislikes, tendencies and peculiarities of the donor. The “person” came with the heart.
There is even an example where the heart of a murder victim causes the recipient to dream vividly enough to identify the murderer.
That said, each heart contains its own mechanism for beating. As long as the heart has a blood supply and body to occupy, it will beat on its own.
What is lost with transplant is some of the fine nervous control that is lost as nerve fibers are cut in harvesting the organ.
Some of this will grow back following transplant, however it is difficult to predict how much and how fast. The heart will continue to beat faster or slower in response to circulating hormones, such as adrenaline or cortisol, responding to the needs of the body even in the setting of transplant.
To know more about heart transplant in the context of the mind-body connection, please see my YOUTUBE video, titled “Unleash Your Limitless Potential – Five Powers of Mind over Body.” It is available for the general public to watch for free. Please make the best out of it.