Mumbai got 35% of its donor hearts from other cities: Data
Prejudices, lack of awareness to blame, say docs; call for organ pledge policyUpdated: Nov 19, 2019 17:18 IST
The city has fared poorly in heart donation statistics, according to data from the Regional and State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (ROTTO-SOTTO). The information shows that while 57 heart transplants were carried out in the city since 2017, 35% of the organs were donated from outside Mumbai.
In 2017, the city received 11 heart donations, including five from Surat and four from Indore; it sent three organs to other cities. The statistics for 2019 are better, with the city receiving four donations while it donated three hearts to other centres.
Typically, during a heart transplant, a failing, diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart donated from brain-dead patients. The organ can only be retrieved from brain-dead patients within four to six hours of ending life support. As of Saturday, as many as 21 patients are on the waiting list for a heart in Mumbai and 48 in Pune.
The latest heart donation from outside the city was on November 2, when a heart travelled 269km from Surat to Fortis Hospital in Mulund, in 70 minutes. It was transplanted in a 40-year-old woman whose heart had been pumping just 20% for the last year. This new heart belonged to 22-year-old Suraj Bahera who met with an accident on October 29 in Gujarat. On November 2, he was declared brain dead and his father agreed to donate his organs, including his heart.
This is one such case where a heart donation from another state helped save a Mumbaiite. ROTTO-SOTTO data shows that since 2017, Mumbai has received 20 hearts from other states. (See box). Among the donors, Surat leads with 11 donations. This is followed by Indore (5); Chandigarh (1); Jaipur (1); Visakhapatnam (1); Jaipur (1), and Bhopal (1). Mumbai has donated only six hearts, while Nagpur donated three and Pune, one.
Doctors blame Mumbai’s poor performance on prejudice and lack of awareness. They stressed the need for the formation of policy to mainstream the process of organ pledge. “In the US and UK, whenever a person opts for a driving license, they have to fill a form pledging their organs. But in India, even when we declare a patient brain dead, their relatives fail to understand it and refuse to donate the organs,” said Dr Vijay Surase, senior consultant interventional cardiologist at Jupiter Hospital, Thane.
Doctors claim that with more awareness, there is a gradual rise in the number of heart donations in the state, but say it is still insufficient to meet the demand for heart transplantation. In 2017, 21 heart donations were recorded, which plunged to 17 in 2018. However, this year until October, the number has increased to 20.
Dr SK Mathur, president of the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC), Mumbai, said that with growing awareness, more people are voluntarily opting to be donors, gradually helping the city stop its reliance on other states. “If you check the data, the number of hearts procured from other states is going down gradually. This year, 90% of the hearts for transplantations have been donated within the state,” said Dr Mathur.
Dr Sandeep Attawar, programme director and chair of Heart and Lung Transplant Program, Glenegals Global Hospitals, said, “As per the statistics of Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre in Maharashtra, there has been a significant rise in the number of donations at the centres in Pune, Nagpur, and Mumbai.”
According to the latest National Crime Record Bureau data, Mumbai witnesses the highest number of deaths related to road accidents in India. In 2016, the city recorded 8,713 cases. Despite this, not even 1% of the deceased’s family opted for organ donations.