In a historic moment in the medical field in India, the heart of brain dead patient from Karnataka was successfully transplanted into a patient at a private hospital in Kolkata.
The donor, who was admitted to Sparsh Hospital in Bengaluru, was declared brain dead after he had an accident in March this year. His family members had expressed their willingness to donate his heart.
His heart was then transported 1,885 kilometres – 1,665 from Bengaluru airport to Kolkata airport, and 20 kilometres from the airport to Fortis Hospital at Anandapur in the eastern part of the city. Accordingly, authorities there contacted officials at Fortis Hospital for the transplant.
The beneficiary, 40-year-old Dilchand Singh from Jharkhand, had been suffering from a heart ailment for a few months.
The heart was brought in a special container, preserved with ice and cardioplegic solution. Doctors said that the heart needed to be transplanted within four hours of collecting it from the donor. The flight from Bengaluru to Kolkata took three hours.
At about 11.10 am the heart was taken out of the airport in Kolkata and then with the help of police authorities, it reached at the hospital in time.
Fortis officials had sought help from the state health department which in turn took the help of Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate had made arrangements for a green corridor for the ambulance carrying the heart and the doctors from the airport to Fortis Hospital. DCP (HQ) of Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate Amit Javalgi said that as soon as hospital authorities had told them about it, a pilot car escorted the ambulance and helped cover 18 kilometres in under 20 minutes.
The heart transplant was conducted under the supervision of Dr KR Balakrishnan, director, cardiac sciences and Dr Suresh Rao, chief cardiac anaesthetist from Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai.
The team of doctors, who performed this surgery, included Dr Tapas Raychaudhury, director, cardio thoracic and vascular surgery, Dr KM Mandana, director, cardio thoracic and vascular surgery, and Dr Saikat Bandopadhyay, senior consultant, cardiac anesthesiologist and intensivist from Fortis Hospital, Anandpur.
Dr Raychaudhury said, “It is the first of its kind operation in eastern India. It is a history. Doctors from Chennai went to Bengaluru to collect the heart of a brain dead person. Then it is flown into Kolkata to be transplanted into a patient in Kolkata. It had never happened before,” he said.
The surgery began at about 12 noon and continued for three hours. After the surgery, doctors interacted with media persons and said they were happy about the operation which was a success but still the patient needed to be kept under supervision for 3-4 days.
“The patient is fine. Almost four hours have passed. He is stable, conscious. It was challenging because arranging the organ and transplanting here. Logisitics-wise it was challenging. We need to take care of the post operation heart surgery so that there is no infection,” said Dr Mandana
Dr Raychaudhury said that it was a pity that while in places like Bengaluru on an average two persons come ahead for organ donation every day in West Bengal there is a queue of 35,000 patients who are awaiting donors for a second lease of life.
Doctors said both the donor and the recipient being young, having more or less the same body weight and same blood group (A+), helped in the process.
Family members of Dilchand had registered his name for a transplant in 2016 and it could be done in not less than two years. Belonging to a below poverty level family, Dilchand was supported financially by the hospital.
(Picture for representation)