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Heart transplant at Fortis Escorts, New Delhi, gives 23-year-old girl suffering from end-stage heart disease a new life


Publication : Press Release

A team of doctors led by Dr Z. S. Meharwal, Director & Coordinator, Cardiovascular Surgery, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI), New Delhi, has successfully conducted a heart transplant on a 23-year-old patient who barely had a fortnight to live, giving her a new lease of life. This was the second heart transplant to be conducted at FEHI.

The donor, a 58-year-old man, had suffered brain haemorrhage and was taken to Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Gurgaon. The patient was declared brain dead after he could not be revived after extensive efforts. The family was counselled and they agreed to the noble cause of saving several lives by donating the organs of the deceased.

To transport the live beating heart from FMRI to FEHI, where the recipient was admitted, a Green Corridor was created between the 32 kms stretch with the help of the Traffic Police of the two cities. The distance was covered in 27 minutes 56 seconds.

The recipient had been suffering for the last nine years. Her early symptoms included swelling of feet, legs, abdomen and face. Even minor exertion left her breathless and she experienced extreme fatigue. Tests finally revealed that she suffered from Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, a rare heart disease wherein the walls of the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles) become abnormally rigid and lack flexibility to expand. As a consequence of poor pumping, adequate oxygen does not reach the various parts and the body begin to retain too much water, leading to swelling. Eventually, the condition progresses to heart failure.

In this case, the patient had been bed-ridden for the last four months and her heart was extremely weak. Her family had lost all hope as no drug could cure her. Moreover, her condition obviated the use of temporary devices for interim stabilisation. Dr Z. S. Meharwal said, “This was a huge challenge. Whether her body would be able to withstand the surgery was doubtful. The patient’s tissues were frayed due to excessive water retention and their ability to withstand the pressure of sutures was questionable.”

The discrepancy in the size of the donor’s and the recipient’s hearts added to the challenge. As the donor’s heart was larger and had a bigger aorta, a special technique had to be used to attach the heart.

Dr Vishal Rastogi, Head, Heart Failure Programme, said, “The patient was running out of time and a transplant was the only option left. No other treatment would have worked.” The surgery lasted four hours, he added.

Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, said, “We have been deeply involved in the delivery of heart care in the country for over 25 years and have continuously strived to push the boundaries of cardiac care. The trust our patients have invested in us motivates us to further push the boundaries of our own expertise to deliver astounding results for the good of patients, no matter what it takes.”

Dr Somesh Mittal, Zonal Director, said, “India witnesses over 3 million deaths a year due to cardiovascular diseases making India the ‘Heart Disease Capital of the World’. We are proud to be ranked as India’s best private healthcare hospital in Cardiac Care, performing more than 25,000 procedures annually. With the heart transplant that we have just conducted, our doctors have added yet another feather in FEHI’s cap.”

Congratulations Team FEHI!

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