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Heart travels from Chandigarh to Delhi in 2 hours to save a 13-year-old’s life

A brain dead woman’s heart was harvested to give a young teen a second lease of life after the child’s heart failed. The organ was rushed through Delhi’s roads on a green corridor to make it in time for surgery.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2017 16:10 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Heart transplant,Chandigarh,New Delhi
Hospital authorities transport a heart for a transplant procedure on a 13-year-old (HT Photo)

A 13-year-old child from Agra got a new lease of life after she underwent a heart transplant at a private hospital in Delhi on Friday.

Doctors at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute performed their sixth heart transplant on Thursday, which was made possible after a 32-year-old woman from Faridabad, Harayana, was declared brain dead at PGI Hospital in Chandigarh. She was on ventilator support for nearly three weeks.

The family of the donor consented to donate her organs – heart, kidneys, and liver – following which the harvested heart was flown down to Delhi in two hours.

The Cardiac Transplant Team from Escorts Hospital flew down to PGI Hospital, Chandigarh, and retrieved the heart from the donor at 11:20 am. The police and traffic authorities created a green corridor for transferring the harvested heart to Delhi. The heart left in an ambulance from the Chandigarh hospital, following a pre-decided route to the airport. It was swiftly moved into a chartered flight to reach IGI Airport by 1 pm. A green corridor was also created in Delhi, allowing the ambulance to cover a distance of 18 kilometers in barely 18 minutes at 1:23 pm, despite heavy traffic.

The child was suffering from heart failure due to viral myocarditis and had an ejection fraction of barely 15-20% (normal heart functions at 55-60%). After two prior admissions at Escorts in the past one year due to heart failure, this was the third time that the child had been admitted after his condition deteriorated.

The transplant was conducted by Dr ZS Meharwal, director of cardiovascular and transplant surgery, Fortis Escorts. “When we first heard that the donor was a 32-year-old person, it looked that the match might not be possible. This child is second time lucky as a few months ago we got a heart from an elderly patient but could not be put in his body due to technical complications,” he said.

“This time, the body weight of the donor was around that of the recipient and hence their chest cavities were nearly comparable, though we still had to use special techniques to connect arteries of the donor heart with those of the recipient. This enabled us to carry on with the transplant.”

The recipient had viral infection which had affected his heart. Such patients usually recover in a matter of six months to a year. However, in this case, his condition rapidly deteriorated which lead to heart failure.

There is a huge demand and supply gap as far as organs for transplantation is concerned as not many people come forward to donate organs voluntarily of a deceased family member.

“Such exemplary acts are a reminder to all that how numerous patients awaiting organs who are close to death can be given back life,” said Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, Fortis Escorts.

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 20:05 IST