16 years on, 5 hospitals fail to carry out a single transplant surgery in Mumbai

Monday, 30 December 2013 - 11:28am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

After a successful artificial heart implant at a Paris hospital, for patients back home, a heart transplantation is seen as a ray of hope especially when all fails. 

It’s been 16 years, since the state health department has granted permission to around five hospitals to conduct heart transplant surgery. But unfortunately, not a single surgery has been done so far.  

Last week, a man aged 75, became the first person to receive an artificial heart developed by French biomedical firm Carmat. An artificial heart may add five years more to his life. The artificial heart is powered by Lithium-ion batteries that can be worn externally. This device is intended to replace a real heart.

According to Cadaver transplant programme, since 2008 there have been 57 heart transplant in Tamil Nadu, and this programme is a success in the state.

Dr KR Balakrishnan, director cardiac sciences, Fortis Malar Hospital, Adyar, Chennai, has done more than 10 heart transplants in the state. He has also done a similar procedure to an artificial heart transplant, HVAD (Heartware Ventricular Assist Device) pump, which is the smallest ventricular-assist device. The tiny device pumps blood for the patient’s heart, which has suffered irreparable damage.

Balakrishnan said, “This is a good beginning and comes as an alternative to transplant. The only drawback is the weight of the device, which will change in the coming years. In the coming years, we have to wait and watch, on how well the device functions.”

In Maharashtra, organ transplant programme started in 1997. While talking to dna, state health services, director, Dr Satish Pawar, said, “We had given the permission to hospitals, who have the infrastructure to perform a heart transplant procedure. Now, hospitals need to take an initiative to start such a programme. Adding, “I don’t have an answer as to why a surgery has not been carried out so far. But if they want any permission they can always take our help.”

When medication and surgery fails, a heart transplant is the next best option. The heart must come from someone, who has been declared brain dead. “There is a rise in the cases of heart failure by 2 million annually and with heart transplants being a distant dream, the results of this technology will be monitored with great anticipation, “ said Dr Ramakanta Panda, vice-chairman and managing director of AHI.

Dr Ajay Chouraciya, head of cardiology department, Nair Hospital, said, “There is a need of awareness among the people and a need for good infrastructure. Most of our patients’ relatives are not ready to donate the heart of the brain dead patient. They think as long as the heart beats, there is hope of recovery. This could be the reason, why Mumbai has not had a single heart transplant.”


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