No suitable Indian recipient was found

A heart, harvested from a 51-year-old Indian, now beats in an Egyptian lawyer.

When the donor was declared ‘brain dead' on June 30 at Government Stanley Hospital after he was injured in a road accident, his family decided to donate his organs. A nationwide search was initiated by the government's Cadaver Transplant Programme co-ordinator J. Amalorpavanathan for a suitable recipient for the heart.

Because of various reasons, no Indian recipient could be found, which is when the 43-year-old lawyer from Egypt entered the picture. He had undergone a bypass in 2007 in Egypt, but his heart continued to fail until the point where only a transplant could save him. He was being managed medically in Dr. Cherian's Frontier Lifeline Hospital.

His case was advanced to the co-ordinator for approval, who decided that the organ must not be wasted, and allowed the heart to be used on the ailing Egyptian.

The heart was harvested and brought to Frontier Lifeline from Stanley Hospital in a record 19 minutes in rush hour traffic. The transplant team comprising Prashant Vaijyanath, Kulasekharan, Krishna Manohar, Sailesh, S.Ganapathy and Saravana Ganesh worked on transplanting the heart on June 30.

“The patient, who is still in the ICU, is doing well,” Dr. Ganapathy said. Dr. Ganesh said the one-year survival rate after a heart transplant was between 88-90 per cent, while the five-year survival rate was between 73-75 per cent. The Egyptian recipient would have to now follow a heart-healthy lifestyle and be on immuno suppressants, he added. It would probably be another 10 days before the patient is ready to fly back home, hospital authorities added.