End stage heart failure is one of the conditions mired with high mortality. Around 1/4th of the children who suffer from end stage heart failure die within 6 months and a majority of them do not survive beyond two years of age. The pediatric cardiology department of Narayana Health City has brought a ray of hope to children suffering from end stage heart failure by successfully performing a heart transplant surgery on a child as young as 4 years of age. The transplant surgery has the unique distinction of being Karnataka’s youngest heart transplant. Dr. B R Ravikanthe Gowda, Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Bengaluru City Traffic Police, Dr. Kishore Phadke, Convenor, Jeevasarthakathe, Dr. Varun Shetty, Consultant-Cardiothoracic Surgery & Heart Transplant, Narayana Health City and Dr. Thiruthani Kumaran, Consultant-Cardiothoracic Surgery & Heart Transplant, Narayana Health City were present at the event wherein the case study was elaborated.
Hailing from Kolkata in West Bengal, Master Chahal Patwari, the 4 year old heart transplant recipient was suffering from Dilated Cardiomyopathy since the time he was 2 years of age. Though he was under treatment his condition did not improve, rather it started deteriorating. In fact, the disease had weakened his heart’s ability to pump and he was not in a condition to even eat or play. The family’s search for a quality pediatric cardiac care brought them to Narayana Health City, Bangalore. On admission the child’s condition was very critical. The pediatric team under the aegis of Dr. Shashiraj Subramanya, Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist & Heart Transplant Physician, Narayana Health City, did a thorough evaluation of the child. As the only treatment for end stage heart failure is heart transplant, the medical team advised the family to register with Jeevasarthakathe. The family registered with Jeevasarthakathe in February 2019. In India, owing to the lack of awareness and participation in organ donation, especially heart donation, heart donation is still at its nascent stage. Although no official statistics is available, hundreds of end stage heart failure patients die every year waiting for a suitable heart. After a long wait of around 11 months, the child received a suitable heart on December 21st 2019 and the doctors successfully performed the surgery. He was discharged from the hospital within 15 days after surgery and now leading a near normal life. In fact, the doctors say, heart transplant can be successfully done in selected cases with excellent outcome in children as young as less than 1 year age.
Elaborating about the case, Dr. Shashiraj Subramanya, Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist & Heart Transplant Physician, Narayana Health City, said, “The health of the recipient is very crucial to ensure the success of a heart transplant. In the case of Master Chahal Patwari, he was not only at the fourth stage of heart failure but also, he was very weak. The biggest challenge in this case was to keep him stable and alive till we found a matching donor. In fact, his condition was so critical that he had to be in the hospital for 11 months on life saving medicines. With the help of our comprehensive medical team we provided him not only the adequate treatment but also worked rigorously to find the best matching donor. More importantly, despite the prolonged hospital stay he did not get a single episode of infection and attained very good nutritional status that helped him sail through the surgery smoothly.”
Discussing about the transplant, Dr. Julius Punnen, Heart & Lung Transplant Surgeon, Narayana Health City, said, “Apart from blood match the crucial aspect is the weight match. A patient can receive heart from someone who is about two and half times heavier than himself or herself. In this case as the team had ensured the child was healthy as well as had an optimal weight we could find a matching donor and save his life by performing the heart transplant.”
The transplant surgery lasted for around 4 hours. After the surgery the child was discharged within 15 days bringing an end to his 11 month long hospital stay.
His saviour is a 45 year old man who had a suffered from brain haemorrhage and was admitted at Aster CMI Hospital, Hebbal, Bangalore. He was declared brain dead on December 21st and his family consented for organ donation. His heart saved the life of Master Chahal Patwari. The heart was transported from Aster CMI Hebbal to Narayana Health City through a green corridor facilitated by the traffic police. The distance of 35 kms was covered in a span of 29 minutes.
Expressing his joy, Mr. Kamal Patwari, patient’s father, said, “In the time of darkness, Narayana Health City came as a ray of hope in our lives. Master Chahal Patwari is our only child and we had lost hope till we came to Narayana Health City. We are not only thankful to the entire team of Narayana Health City but also deeply indebted to the donor’s family for saving our child.”
The event also witnessed Dr. B R Ravikanthe Gowda, Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Bangalore City Traffic Police being felicitated for his constant support and ensuring timely transportation of organs.
Sharing his contentment of being a part of a lifesaving procedure, Dr. B R Ravikanthe Gowda, Additional Commissioner (Traffic), Bangalore City Traffic Police, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be a part of such a lifesaving mission. We are glad that we have been instrumental in saving the life of this young boy.”
Addressing the gathering at the event, Dr. Kishore Phadke, Convenor, Jeevasarthakathe - apex body of Govt of Karnataka for Decease Donor Organ Transplants, said, “While there is an increase in the number of people coming forward to donate organs, it is still far from desirable. Over the last few years the heart transplant has grown 2 times. Last year we were able to provide support to 30+ heart transplants in the city. There is a growing need for creating awareness and dispelling the myths around organ donation.”
The case study not only stands as an example of clinical excellence of Narayana Health City, it also provides a ray of hope to those suffering from cardiac ailments. With this transplant Narayana Health becomes one of the leading hospital chains in the city who have been successfully performing heart transplants. The group has performed 76 heart transplants across its hospitals in the city. Out of the 76, 10 are pediatric heart transplants.