PGI successfully performs milestone heart transplant surgery, a first in the region

In a milestone surgery, doctors at the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research (PGI) successfully performed a heart transplant on Sunday August 4 2013.

PGI became the first institute in the northern region to conduct the complex procedure on a 53-year-old patient from Ambala district.

Patient diagnosed with left ventricular failure
The patient was diagnosed with left ventricular failure and a heart transplant was his only chance for survival.Though there is no dearth of expertise and competent surgeons to do transplants, donor shortage is a setback.

Luckily for the patient, doctors identified a brain dead patient in the Trauma Centre ICU in PGI on Saturday evening and relatives of the deceased were convinced to donate organs.

After a complete evaluation of the donor heart, the decision was made to go ahead with the transplant on Sunday. The patient’s condition is being closely monitored in the post-operative room.

The donor’s family also donated his other organs and his kidneys, eyes, cornea and liver have been harvested.

“The consent of donor’s family has not only gifted a new hope of life to the heart patient but will also save the lives or other patients who suffer from organ failures (liver and kidneys),” said a PGIMER official.

Facility proposed three years ago
Dr KK Talwar, former Director of the PGIMER had put forward the proposal for the facility at the PGIMER in 2010. The approval for starting heart transplant was granted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare last month.

The formalities pertaining to the infrastructure requirements for the facility of heart transplant were accomplished last year and the department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery (CTVS) has been managing the program. Dr T Shyam and Dr Harkant Singh, a cardiothoracic surgeon went abroad to undergo training last year.

PGI is among the ten institutes in the country recognized by the Directorate General of Health Services under the National Organ Transplant Program. The premier institute has carried out successful kidney and liver transplants. Over 2,500 kidney transplant have been performed since the facility was set up in the 1980s. Liver transplants were initiated two years ago at the PGIMER and six procedures have been conducted so far.