Marengo CIMS Hospital in Ahmedabad spreads increased awareness on the miracle of heart transplants

HealthMarengo CIMS Hospital in Ahmedabad spreads increased awareness on the miracle of...


A journey from death to life

  • There is hope for patients with end-stage heart failure except a heart transplant
  • Organ donation is the highest form of humanity and increased awareness about the nobility of the act is being spread

Jammu: A change of Heart, changes everything, which is not just philosophically true, but medically as well. Heart Transplantation gives the highest hope to patients with end-stage heart failures.

Dr Dhiren recounts about a 17-year-old bubbly young girl from Amreli who suffered from COVID viral myocarditis and then suffered from heart failure with heart functioning of only 15%. She was in the hospital for almost 5 months and practically on death bed and was neither recovering with any modalities of medical treatment. Heart Transplantation was the only option possible and after the procedure, she was discharged from the hospital on the 14th day and currently, a year and a half of the transplant, she is dancing, playing, and has even started going to school and enjoying life like any other teenager. This is really and most satisfying ‘Change of the Heart’ for any doctor.

This became a possibility only because the family of a brain dead patient made the selfless decision to donate their loved one’s organs. A young 21-year-old boy who suffered severe brain injuries in a road accident and did not survive was the donor. His all other vital organs were functioning normally and his family members chose to donate his heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, eyes, and a pair of hands, gifting eight patients a new lease of life. It is worth noting that in addition to these organs, the pancreas, small intestines, and skin can also be donated. Organ donation is not limited by age, as anyone from just a few days old to 100 years of age can potentially donate organs, depending on the condition of their organs.

Dr Dhiren Shah, Director and consultant, Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgery Department, Director Heart and Lung Transplant Program, Director Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, Marengo CIMS Hospital says, “Heart transplantation is no longer an experimental procedure (or a non-imp topic for exam). It is now the therapy of choice for selective patients with end-stage heart disease. It does change the quality of life dramatically for bedridden and terminally ill heart failure patients. And in the 44 heart Transplants that I have performed, I have seen this and had first-hand experience.”

Brain death is an irreversible condition, which results from a severe injury to the brain and the most common reason is either accidental injury or Brain hemorrhage or stroke. All these patients are usually on ventilators and cannot breathe without a support system. Their body’s vital functions will be maintained by an artificial support system and such patients can donate organs. This is a different condition from coma which is a state of deep unconsciousness because of brain injury. The brain is still functioning and the person is still able to breathe on his own without a ventilator with chances of Brain Recovery.  Such patients cannot donate organs. Patients with Cancers and having critical conditions because of any infections also cannot donate organs.

Dr Dhiren Shah further explains the process, “Once we identify that the patient seems to be brain dead, either a Neurosurgeon or a Physician will carry out various tests and lastly one Apnea test is performed to declare the patient as brain dead. After this panel of four doctors who can be a neurosurgeon/physician, intensivist, anesthetist, medical officer, and/or a registered medical officer can certify the person as brain dead after performing two Apnea Tests on the patient. The hospital then informs the SOTTO about this potential organ donor. Now SOTTO, a Government organization, will allocate the organs as per the waiting list on the government listing. Once the patient is declared brain dead, the organs need to be retrieved within  24-48 hours.”

Another way of organ donation is through living donors, which is common in India, where any of the living close relatives can donate one of their kidneys or part of the Liver to their blood relatives. Organs are harvested in the operation theatre just like any other operation. There is no disfigurement of the body after the organ harvesting. After organs are harvested from the donor, the time period within which you can use organs for recipients is within four hours for the heart,  5 to 6 hours for the lungs, 12 hours for the liver, pancreas, and small intestine, and 24 hours for the Kidney.

By the gift of organ donation, a person can give a decade or even more years of normal and fruitful life to a person who was suffering from heart failure, kidney failure, or liver failure and who would not have lived even for 3-5 years otherwise. Organ donation remains the highest act of humanity>

“It is infinitely better to transplant a heart than to burn or bury a heart to be devoured by worms.” –Dr Christian Bernard

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