With two heart transplants in just five days, Mumbai has finally set the ball rolling. Despite several multi-speciality hospitals in Mumbai, the city failed to start a heart transplant facility for years. But experts said an increase in cadavers and the super-speciality hospitals flourishing in Mumbai, heart transplants have finally become a reality. In fact, Jupiter Hospital in Thane and Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road are expected to start performing heart transplants soon.
Jupiter hospital’s Dr Gautama Ramakanthan, who heads the transplant services, said the Thane hospital will start a heart transplant facility also. “A decade ago, we saw just five to six cadavers in a year. Now the number is growing. Unlike liver and kidney where a relative can donate the organ, a heart transplant surgery depends on a sudden event which needs a committed team and skilled surgeons,” he said.
A senior doctor from a private hospital said the competition between corporate hospitals is another factor fuelling the need for “transplant services”. A few years ago, Mumbai hospitals started adopting liver transplants which were fewer in number. Similarly, the focus towards heart transplants has happened, said doctors. “For it to continue, there is need for sustained registry of heart failure patients,” said Dr J Amalorpavanthan, state transplant coordinator, Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu this year has performed 34 cadaver heart transplants and 143 since 2008. The rise in cadaver donations helped fuel the cadaverous organ transplant movement in Tamil Nadu, which experts said is still not a case in Mumbai. This year, the city has recorded 25 cadaver donations.” Even if we assume that all these families had consented to donate the heart, we would have been able to perform a small number of transplants as the matching and the quality of the heart is vital,” said a senior doctor from a private hospital.” Now that one hospital has begun, others will follow.”
Compared to the West, the success rate of heart transplants in India is low. In India, the first year survival rate is around 40 to 45% whereas abroad the rate is 80%. Heart transplant surgeon, Dr Anvay Mulay, said, “Earlier doctors did not give patients with heart failure an option of heart transplants. Our patients browse the internet and hence they come to us asking [for it],” said Dr Mulay.
“Now, Mumbai has to look at heart and lung transplants also as there are patients who need it,” said, Dr Paul Ramesh, senior heart and lung transplant surgeon, Apollo Hospital, Chennai.