A resident of Pithapuram in East Godavari District, Venkata Ramya had been suffering from ‘postpartum cardiomyopathy’ after delivering a baby seven years ago

Doctors at Yashoda Hospital performed a life-saving heart transplant on a 25-year-old woman after she developed a rare disorder associated with pregnancy.

Venkata Ramya, a resident of Pithapuram, East Godavari District, had been suffering from ‘postpartum cardiomyopathy’ after delivering a baby seven years ago. She had breathlessness while walking and was unable to lie down flat. A cardiologist at Kakinada, who suggested heart transplant for Ramya, referred her to Dr. A.G.K. Gokhale, chief cardiothoracic, transplant and minimal access surgeon, at Yashoda Hospital.

Dr. Gokhale and Dr. Rajasekhar, consultant cardiologist, kept her on the waiting list for a donor. After a month, on December 15, a 21-year-old accident victim was declared brain dead in another hospital in the city. After the victim’s relatives expressed willingness to donate his organs, Dr. Gokhale and Dr. Sudhakar, a consultant anaesthetist, rushed to the hospital, removed the heart from the victim and transferred it to Yashoda Hospital in a few minutes, even as the city traffic police provided escort to the ambulance.

A team of cardiothoracic surgeons, headed by Dr. Gokhale and Dr. G. Subramanyam, senior consultant anaesthetist, performed the surgery taking six hours.

Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, Dr. Gokhale and Yashoda Group of Hospitals managing director Dr. G.S. Rao emphasised the need for creating greater awareness about the Jeevandan scheme and organ donation, as a number of lives could be saved.

Ramya, who struggled to hold back her emotions, said she had lost all hope and added that she was indebted to the doctors and the donor for giving her a new lease of life. Dr. Gokhale said the cost of a heart transplant procedure was Rs. 15 lakh, and that 50,000 to 60,000 people in the country required heart transplant.

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