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Updated: May 24, 2013 01:51 IST

A transplant that won a Pakistani heart

Special Correspondent
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K.R. Balakrishnan (right), Director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Malar Hospital, with Moulana Mohammed Ashmi from Pakistan, in Chennai recently. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
The Hindu K.R. Balakrishnan (right), Director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Malar Hospital, with Moulana Mohammed Ashmi from Pakistan, in Chennai recently. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

Chennai hospital saves religious teacher afflicted with dilated cardiomyopathy

When Moulana Mohammed Zubair Ashmi’s heart grew large, literally, and failed him, it was another large heart that replaced it. If hearts have nationalities, then the first was Pakistani, and the second, Indian.

The 51-year-old Pakistani religious teacher was diagnosed with a condition called ‘dilated cardiomyopathy’ where the heart is enlarged, becomes weakened and is unable to function well. Doctors had told him that his only option was a heart transplant.

“There is no facility for a transplant back home,” he says over video, still not completely up to hobnobbing with media persons. His folks did a search and contacted K.R.Balakrishnan, director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Malar Hospital, here.

He was critically ill even as he was flown to Chennai via Dubai from Lahore.To make matters worse, he was Hepatitis C positive.

Though he spent about two months in the ICU at the hospital, Ashmi’s condition continued to deteriorate. Doctors had to find a donor heart for him or put him on an artificial implant device. It turns out a donor became available in March. The family of a 37-year-old man who had met with a road accident and been declared brain dead, came forward to donate the organs.

“Even if there had been a delay of two days, we would have lost him,” says Suresh Rao, chief, Cardiac Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Fortis Malar. He goes on to explain that though the donor and recipient were of two different blood groups, the tissue mapping showed a good and viable match.

Pre- and post-transplant, Ashmi’s Hepatitis C viral load had to be brought down, the kidney damage managed, and immuno suppressant therapy had to be modified to suit the patient, Dr. Rao explains.

Traditional immuno suppressants affect the liver, and with an existing hepatitis C infection, extra care had to be paid to that, Dr. Balakrishnan adds.

“It is good government policy in Tamil Nadu that has facilitated a man from Pakistan to get a heart from Chennai. Goes to show that good policies have a major impact on promoting good health, not only locally, but globally too,” he says, further.

Maulana Ashmi is weak, but has gone back to talking at length. He would like to go home, to his family (his wife could not accompany him as she was denied a visa) and back to teaching in his mosque.

It is indeed commendable that we had the right medical technology and the policies in place
to effect such a transplant. Kudos to all those involved.

from:  Subramanyam
Posted on: May 25, 2013 at 16:22 IST

Once in a way we get to read such really good news. God is great !

from:  V. Vedagiri
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 18:44 IST

If only there is a surgical procedure to transplant the minds as well...

from:  Raghusn
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 18:27 IST

EXCELENT news. well done doctors and an example how to run a government
kudos and credit to our beloved C M ms jayalalithaa.

from:  hafeez
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 18:22 IST

Hopefully he would take this entire experience back to his madrasas and make people understand the true nature of India. He should probably call for a press conference in Pakistan and share his experiences with the population through the national television.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 13:01 IST

Congrats to the team and Doctors who made it. As most of us complaining
about the policies we have in our country , it is really pat on the back
for the Tamil Nadu government to make it happen.

from:  Saradha
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 12:10 IST

Well done Dr. K.R.Balakrishnan, director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis
Malar Hospital. Now the so called religious people should accept that
all people are same whatever be their religion.

from:  P.N Jayakumar
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 12:09 IST

For Ashok: Please do not bring in politics and religion here.An eye for an eye will make the world blind.

from:  Narayanan
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 11:25 IST

Our Doctors fight to saves the common mans lives of Pakistan but our
soldiers not only killed but also beheaded,Our people jails in Pakistan
are killed. Terrorist are sent to India regularly to kill innocent
Indians.What sort of neighbor we are having.Cant we be as bold as China

from:  ashok.s
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 10:51 IST

Congrats to the entire Cardiac team. proud to be the Student of Dr.K.R.Balakrishnan

from:  Saranya
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 09:34 IST

It is indeed a very heart touching example. I must respectfully say that Well done India. We would like to hear more of positive news. Since we are of same origins and same blood.

from:  Suhai Khan
Posted on: May 24, 2013 at 03:22 IST
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