Doctors at AIIMS have transplanted a heart, harvested from a young traffic accident victim in Indore, into a 45-year-old cardiac patient from south Delhi, taking to 48 the number of such surgeries performed at the premier institute since the first transplant in 1994.
This is the 11th heart transplant undertaken at the AIIMS in 2016, the highest number in the last few years, officials said.
"The patient suffered from ischemic heart disease (condition that affects the supply of blood to the heart) and already had a stent procedure surgery. The heart was harvested from the 30-year-old man in Indore who had died in a road accident.
"It was flown through a green corridor to Delhi and transplanted in him, between three-and-a-half to four hours," Professor of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at AIIMS, Balram Airan said.
Doctors and experts at the institute say the upward trend in the number of transplants in recent time can be attributed to increased awareness especially through campaign and advocacy programmes.
"The surgery was performed on October 4 and the patient belongs to Jamia Nagar. The 11 transplants this year so far, makes it one of the highest in recent years," Senior Organ Transplant Coordinator at AIIMS, Rajeev Maikhuri said.
Professor at Department of Cardiology, AIIMS, Dr Sandeep Seth, at a press conference here, said, "The country's first heart transplant was done at AIIMS on August 3, 1994. Last year we did five and three the year before that. The total number of heart transplant surgeries undertaken at AIIMS is so far 48."
Apollo Hospitals have done about 100 transplants, and overall the number of heart transplants done in the country should be around 250, he said.
"There are a lot of factors considered before conducting the transplant. The recipient list is categorised based on blood groups, and so right now B+ group list is vacant here, which means, if a heart comes from a donor who was B+, it cannot be used," he said.
Airan, who was part of the team at the premier institute which performed the country's first heart transplant said, "more than age difference between donor-recipient, it is the weight difference that matters when it comes to transplants."
"If the donor is elder than the recipient then it is fine but if he/she is younger, then weight factor comes in, which decides the size of the heart. If the heart is too small for a recipient then it could trigger difficulties, so a proper match has to be made," he said.
"AIIMS is currently offering heart transplant facilities at Rs one lakh for surgery with medication at Rs 25,000 per month, and ventricular assist device implantation at Rs 70 lakh," the institute said.
On Sunday, an awareness programme will be hosted in its campus, during which cardiologists, surgeons, nurses and patients having undergone transplant or assist device implant surgery at AIIMS would also be present, it said.
Airan also spoke about a man from Lucknow, who received an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) few months ago at the AIIMS.
"He is doing well and is going to come up for check-up again now," he said.
LVAD is a pump that is used for patients who have reached end-stage of heart failure. It is inserted inside the patient with thin wire emerging out of the body linked to a power source outside.
"At private hospitals, it (LVAD) costs about Rs 90 lakh. At AIIMS, the Lucknow patient was the first one to receive the third-generation of the device," Seth said.
"If the device does not prove effective then transplant is the only option," Airan added.
The AIIMS also said "after launching an app earlier for its patients to monitor health parameters, now a health card system has also been introduced.