Transplanting a fresh leash of life

Published: 09th December 2012 08:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2012 08:49 AM   |  A+A-

Fifty eight-year-old Port Trust employee Narayanan considers himself lucky. With a failing heart, his wait for a donor heart seemed in vain and he was preparing to leave the hospital and “hope for the best”, until a miracle happened.

Two hours before he was set to leave the Global Health City, the parents of a 30-year-old woman, who had been declared brain dead, decided to donate her organs - and Narayanan was a perfect match.

He had been suffering from heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. “His heart was only pumping out blood at 20 per cent capacity and one-third of his heart muscles weren’t working,” said Dr Sandeep Attawar, heart transplant surgeon. He had also had a history of cardiac ailments. His only hope was a transplant and that seemed a remote possibility given that donor hearts weren’t freely available, even in Tamil Nadu.

Dr Attawar said, “Not all patients diagnosed with heart failure can be provided a transplant. They are provided medication and checked for diseases and rejected if they test positive. Family support is vital.”

As soon as news came that the organ was available, the surgical team swung into action with caution conseidering his age. Narayanan, who was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, expressed elation at being able to lead a normal life.

He was able to consume liquid food the day after the surgery. Narayanan’s employers, had pitched in their support considering his poor financial status, in addition to the state government’s subsidies, doctors said. The total expense of the procedure was pegged at `5 lakh.

The surgery was an achievement given the fact that only younger people had survived heart transplants in the city thus far. Dr Sanjay Cherian, director of administration and staff surgeon, Frontier Lifeline and Dr K M Cherian Heart Foundation said that the average age of patients undergoing heart transplants was around 30.


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