In a heart transplant that doctors, too, termed exceptional, seven-year-old Madhavi Vishwakarma, who was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy – where the heart becomes enlarged, affecting its function – got the organ from a seven-year-old boy. The Goregaon resident, who was registered just two weeks ago, became the youngest in the state to undergo the surgery.
Doctors said it is rare to have paediatric cadaver donors and rarer to find a match. “A seven-year-old cannot be transplanted with a heart of an adult patient. We were surprised when we found the donor was also seven. It is an exceptional task to find a perfect match, in terms of age, weight, height and blood group,” said Dr Vijay Agarwal, paediatric cardiac transplant surgeon, Fortis hospital, Mulund, who performed the transplant on Sunday morning.
Madhavi’s family was not open to the idea of a transplant. Although diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy about four months ago, her parents agreed to register her on the waiting list of cardiac failure patients recently. “Her heart was functioning poorly. She had just a few weeks left,” said Dr Agarwal. Last month, she was admitted to the hospital thrice owing to congestive heart failure.
The surgery was made possible by an Australia-based Indian family holidaying in Mumbai, which consented to donating organs of their seven-year-old son. The cadaver donation saved four lives. His liver was transplanted into a 31-year-old man admitted at Jupiter Hospital, Thane and the kidneys were transported to Jaslok Hospital where two boys, aged 11 and 15, underwent the life-saving transplants.
According to doctors at PD Hinduja Hospital, where the donor was admitted, he had expressed his wish to donate organs just a month ago. “Once he asked how he could become an organ donor after seeing my driving licence (driving licence in Australia mentions if a person is organ donor),” his mother told Dr Sucheta Desai, transplant coordinator at the hospital. “He would have not known what it means, but his statement motivated the family,” said Dr Desai.
Even before the doctors told the family about the possibility of donating organs, the family expressed willingness. On the last day of their holiday in Mumbai, the donor complained of severe headache and was rushed to a private hospital in Vile Parle. He was later shifted to PD Hinduja Hospital where doctors performed a surgery. He had developed venous thrombosis -- a condition where clots are formed in the blood vessels of the brain leading to brain death. “He had frequent headaches, but no one suspected,” said Dr Desai.
Within 18 minutes, Dr Anvay Mule, head of cardiac heart transplant surgery at Fortis Hospital, along with his team, ferried the heart from PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim to Mulund via a green corridor laid down by traffic personnel, marking the ninth successful heart transplant in Mumbai.