A 19-year-old patient suffering from cardiac ailment received a new lease of life after undergoing an over eight-hour complex transplant surgery of the heart received from a 55-year-old woman in New Delhi, doctors at a private hospital said Today.
The operation was challenging as there was a "significant mismatch in the height and weight of the donor and recipient", they said.
The heart harvested from the old woman at AIIMS was transported to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI), Okhla, here via green corridor, covering a distance of 9.2 km in 14 minutes on Tuesday evening during heavy traffic hours.
The woman had fallen unconscious on a road while going for a morning walk and was immediately admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) with a "severe head injury" and was later declared brain dead, FEHI said in a statement.
An alert was sent by the National Organ Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) about a possible cadaveric heart donor. The heart was allocated to FEHI by NOTTO. "The recipient was in an advanced heart failure stage due to dilated cardiomyopathy (a type of heart muscle disease that causes the heart chambers (ventricles) to thin and stretch, growing larger).
"He was admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute with heart failure in the past as well and was waiting for a heart transplant which could not be done due to the non-availability of a heart," the statement said.
His condition had reached a "critical stage" and he was put on medications. In such cases, generally, a patient undergoes a plethora of tests to determine his current conditions which also include tests on whether he has the possibility of an organ rejection, doctors said.
A team of doctors led by Dr Z S Meharwal, executive director and head of adult cardiac surgery, VAD and heart transplantation programme, FEHI, performed the complex operation.
The donor was female and short in height, while the recipient was a tall young boy. We could not perform coronary angiography (a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see your heart's blood vessels) which is normally recommended because of the patient's condition.
Sharing the challenges, the doctors said, there was a "significant mismatch" in the height and weight of the donor and recipient. There was a "mismatch of the aorta (a main artery in the body) too. The aorta of the donor was big in diameter while the aorta of the recipient was small, they said.
"So, we had to do some technical modifications during the surgery," Mr Meharwal said.
The surgery lasted for more than eight hours. In addition to routine care which is required for any patient undergoing major cardiac surgery, a heart transplant patient needs optimum immunosuppressive therapy (anti-rejection drugs) to prevent rejection of the donor's heart by the recipient. The patient needs good coverage by antibiotics to prevent any infection they are prone to infection because of immunosuppressant therapy, he said.
"The patient is currently stable and we should be able to mobilise him in the next couple of days," Mr Meharwal added.
If the patient was not treated on time, "he would have continued to remain in the advanced heart failure stage with increased pulmonary artery pressures and would have become inoperable in the coming days with minimal chances of a heart transplant," the statement said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)