Nikhil was diagnosed with thalassemia intermedia, a blood transfusion dependent form of thalassemia where transfusions are needed on a regular basis. He was first diagnosed at six months of age.
‘When Nikhil was only six months old, he was diagnosed with thalassemia intermedia, a transfusion dependent form of thalassemia, which required him to undergo regular blood transfusions. Coming from a lower-middle class family, he had his first blood transfusion at the age of 3.5 years.’
Both of his parents were thalassemia minors, and being a lower middle-class family, they were only able to provide his first blood transfusion at the age of 3.5 years.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed on through parental genes causing the body to produce abnormal hemoglobin. This condition occurs when a child inherits two mutated genes, one from each parent.
Symptoms in children suffering from this disease can be observed within the first year of life, as their body fails to produce normal, adult hemoglobin.
Before marriage, Nikhil used to manage his condition with regular blood transfusion, but after getting married, the possibility of transferring his disease to his newborn was what worried him, before he went on consult doctors at BLK Super Speciality Hospital.
The doctors at BLK Super Speciality Hospital advised him Bone marrow transplantation with special stem cells, which has been the only curative option for a patient with thalassemia major so far.
Dr.Dharma Choudhary, a senior consultant and director, Hemato-oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant of that BLK hospital said "Survival was based on transfusions as he had to go for the blood transfusion on frequent intervals. Moreover, fear of transferring the disease to the next generation loomed largely,".
His brother was found to be a perfect match for the transplant, and the surgery was done in may last year.
"It was definitely a high risk, challenging case with very less success rate. But we took up the challenge as his brother as donor made a good match and finally, we were able to perform the bone marrow transplant," added Dr.Choudhary.
After the transplant, Nikhil was patiently monitored for adverse effects with immune suppressant medications. For the first three months, fortnightly OPD visit was recommended for him. But now he is starting to live normal transfusion-free life without any transfusions.