To save a 22-year-old boy's life, a heart was transported from pune to mumbai within 20 minutes. The pune police coordinated with the traffic authorities to create a green corridor, which is a route without red signals to safely transport the heart from a 42-year-old brain dead woman.
It was taken to the pune airport from Jehangir hospital within 7 minutes and from their a chopper took a medical team guarding the heart to Fortis hospital in Mumbai. From Santacruz airport in Mumbai another green corridor was created till the Fortis hospital in Mulund. A 20-km journey was completed in just 18 minutes as the heart was taken directly to the OT, where a group of four doctors headed by Dr Anvay Mulay, head of cardiac surgery at Fortis hospital, had already started the operation.
The heart was successfully harvested in the young patient in a little more than two and a half hours. This is the first successful heart transplant in Maharashtra.
"The woman had already pledged her organs and since she was very young, the relatives said we could transplant the heart. Our team soon got in touch with the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee (ZTCC)" said Dr Manish Bobade, CEO at Jehangir hospital.
At ZTCC, Dr Arati Gokhale, the central coordinator, spoke to her counterparts in Mumbai and was informed that the youngster whose heart function was barely 5-10 percent urgently needed a transplant. The medical team from Fortis hospital came to Pune, got the blood samples matched, conducted other tests and fixed the time for the heart retrieval.
Dr Jadhav initiated the procedure along with Dr Shriniwas Ambike, nephrologist, Dr Deepak Kirpekar, Dr Nitin Gadgil and others. Within 10 minutes, the heart was retrieved and preserved by using custodial cardioplegia and taken to the Pune airport. A human heart can be preserved for four hours.
"We were informed about the transportation required for heart and had made arrangements straightaway. The ambulance left the airport from Gate 8 that opens on the Kalina side. It had to move northwards to Mulund and climbed on to Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road to get on to the Eastern Expressway. A pilot vehicle was leading the ambulance through the right most lane of the entire stretch," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Milind Bharambe.
Dr S Narayani, faculty director at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, said the young patient was suffering from terminal cardiac failure and had been waiting for a donor heart for several months. "We have over five patients awaiting a heart transplant at our hospital. This boy was lucky. A few days ago, we lost a paediatric to heart failure as there was no heart for transplant," said Dr Narayani.
Mulay said the blood group cross-matching and weight and height tests of the boy were conducted before the heart was flown to make sure the recipient's body did not reject the organ. The boy was diagnosed with intracranial bleeding in his brain which led to paralysis. We found about six months ago that the cause was rooted in the blockages he had in his heart.
The youth, an animation artist, underwent a near-perfect surgery with doctors claiming that there were no glitches. He will now be kept under observation for a month at the hospital.
"Heart rejection by recipient body is common because heart does not have its own immunity and one heart failure can possibly lead to death. That is the reason why heart transplants are still rare in India," said Mulay.