Telangana heart beats for Andhra boy: Brain-dead teen gives new life to 8-yr-old
Andhra boy Yashwant’s heart was functioning at only eight per cent and was in the last stages of disease when parents of an 18-year-old, declared brain dead after an accident, came to his help.cities Updated: May 18, 2017 09:18 IST
For two years, eight-year-old Yashwant could only watch as his friends played and ran around in the neighbourhood. Even a small walk would leave him tired and breathless.
Two years of medication but the condition of the boy from East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh only worsened.
“His young body was swollen and his eight per cent. He was suffering these symptoms for over two years and not responding to any medication,” Dr Mannem Gopichand, chief cardiac surgeon at Hyderabad’s Star Hospitals, said.
Yashwant was suffering from severe biventricular dysfunction that compromised his heart’s ability to pump blood and was at the “end stage” of the disease, according to a team of paediatric heart surgeons at Star Hospitals.
He was saved in the nick of time.
A heart transplant at the hospital on April 4 gave the eight-year-old a new life.
The organ came from neighbouring Telangana. Naveen, an 18-year-old from Chityal in Nalgonda district, was declared brain dead after an accident.
“Naveen’s family agreed to donate his heart to Yashwant and that saved the boy’s life,” said Gopichand, who led the team of 12 doctors that carried out the rare surgery. Doctors had struggled to find a compatible heart.
Expenses were another hurdle. The surgery cost around Rs 20 lakh, a sum Yashwant’s mother Satyavathi, a domestic cook, couldn’t afford.
But her persistent efforts paid off. The Andhra Pradesh government sanctioned Rs 7 lakh from the chief minister’s relief fund for the surgery. The remaining cost was borne by Karvy Computershare Ltd. through Hrudaya Foundation that provides treatment to poor children with a heart condition.
On Saturday, doctors presented Yashwant to the media. “I want to be a doctor and save lives,” a beaming Yashwant told media.
Transplant is half the battle won. His body is still adjusting to the donated heart. New technology and improved immunosuppressant drugs have increased percentage of survival rates with a donor heart, doctors say, but he will have to be careful.
The chances of survival for a year after a heart transplant in India are 85%, five years 75% and for a decade it’s 62%.
“Given the weak economic background of Yashwant, we are looking for a long-term rehabilitation programme,” Gopichand said. They were pooling resources so that Yashwant could be admitted to a boarding school to reduce chances of infection.