In death, 27-year-old Anujith gifts life to seven others

Crucial hour: Officials rushing the harvested heart from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

A heart harvested from a youth who was declared brain dead in Thiruvananthapuram was successfully implanted in a 55-year-old cardiac patient at Lisie hospital here in a surgery that lasted around four hours.

The heart started beating in the body of the recipient three hours and 11 minutes after its extraction from the 27-year-old donor Anujith, a resident of Kottarakkara, who was declared brain dead at KIMS Hospital following a motorcycle accident.

The surgery conducted by a 11-member team of doctors led by the noted cardiothoracic surgeon Jose Chacko Periappuram was completed around 7 p.m.

A release from the hospital quoted Dr. Periappuram as saying that though the surgery was successful the next 48 hours were equally critical.

Hospital authorities declined to reveal the identity of the recipient and would only say that the beneficiary was a 55-year-old man from Tripunithura who had been undergoing treatment at the hospital for dilated cardiomyopathy since 2012.

He had registered for organ transplant under the Mrithasanjeevani project of the State Health Department some months ago after his heart functioning was reduced to about 15%.

Air mission

The heart was airlifted to Kochi in the afternoon using a helicopter of the State police. This was the second such airlifting of a heart between the two cities since the pandemic outbreak. A similar mission was held in May.

A four-member team led by Jacob Joseph, head of the anaesthesia department of the hospital, had left for Thiruvananthapuram by road around 5.45 a.m. and reached there around 9 am.

“Usually seven to eight members are assigned for airlifting the heart. But this time, the team was almost halved owing to the restrictions in place on account of the pandemic,” said hospital sources.

The surgery to extract the heart from the donor started around 10.30 a.m. and ended three hours later. Shaji Palangadan, heart surgeon at KIMS Hospital, was part of the surgery team.

Apart from heart, the Anujith's family had agreed to donate seven other organs – two kidneys, eyes, small intestine and both hands – to seven different recipients.

The helicopter carrying the organs landed at the helipad of Grand Hyatt hotel at Bolghatty in the afternoon. While the heart was shifted to Lisie, the small intestine and hands were shifted to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences where they were implanted in a middle aged woman and a 23-year-old.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 10:57:55 PM |

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