Bangalore: A team of cardiologists and heart transplant surgeons at Narayana Health City successfully performed a heart transplant on a 17 year old boy. He was the first patient in Bangalore/Karnataka to undergo a transplant for an extremely rare form of congenital heart disease called ‘Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia’ (ARVD). With this, Narayana Health City, is the only tertiary care centre in Bangalore to have accomplished seven successful transplants, of which four were paediatric cases under the age of 18 years.
According to Narayana Health doctors, who spoke at an event organised at the city’s Taj West End, to brief the media about their operations, the, “success rate of transplants in paediatric cases is very encouraging, in fact younger the patient, better the expected outcome. Until recently, heart transplants were only performed on patients suffering from heart failures. For young patients with congenital heart disease, especially when the treatment options are either limited or does not exist, this mode of treatment are fast emerging as a preferred and more effective option.”
Speaking about one such example, they said that, “Jasan Sangma, the young patient from Manipur is a perfect example. He was brought to Narayana Health City in 2012, with severe symptoms of breathlessness and sudden increase in heart beat, coupled with episodes of unconsciousness. Investigations revealed that he was suffering from ‘Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia’ (ARVD), a very rare genetic heart disease with a global prevalence of only 1 patient per 1,00,000 people. In this condition, muscles of the heart get affected and the right ventricle is replaced by fat tissue. This results in a poor function of the heart and hence the ability of the heart to pump blood is weakened. The patient also suffered from an abnormal electrical activity in the heart, which can cause sudden death.
Initially the patient was fitted with an intra cardiac defibrillator (a device to give shocks to the heart) to prevent sudden cardiac death. However, when the patient came for his last follow-up five months ago (March 2014) the disease had progressed to a large extent, that heart transplant was the only option, without which he wouldn’t have survived beyond one year. Jasan was registered with ZCCK (Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Organ Transplantation) for a transplant.”
Talking about the case, Dr. Shreesha Maiya – Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist said, “’Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia’ is a highly rare condition which makes the timely diagnosis a big challenge. Often patients suffering from the condition are unaware for the first decade or so, until it has progressed to an extent where medication cannot be administered anymore. Unlike many other patients who have waited for a few years, we were lucky to receive a matching heart within a few months.”
Heart transplantation is a highly planned mechanism for which availability of the donor needs to match the need of the recipient. Unfortunately in India, cadaver donation is still in its very nascent stages, as a result of which demand always exceeds the supply of the organ. In Jasan’s case, the cadaver heart came from BGS Hospital, Bangalore where a road accident victim who was declared brain dead, was the donor.
Speaking on Heart Transplants in Paediatric cases and young adults, Dr. Bagirath Raguraman – Senior Consultant Transplant Cardiologist said, “Pediatric heart transplantation is the most comprehensive and advanced form of therapy for a failing heart. In case of children/young adults it has a remarkable impact on the longevity and quality of their life. They can resume a normal life, go to school, play sports and do everything like any other kid. Some of successful transplants have been done on children as young as 15 years in Bangalore who have grown to be healthy individuals perusing their dreams and careers.”
Currently Narayana Health City has 22 patients on the waiting list for receiving a heart out of which two are paediatrc patients.
Dr. Bagirath said that, Jasan’s successful heart transplant was a joint effort between the teams at Narayana Health City, ZCCK, BGS Global Hospital and Bangalore Traffic Police, which ensured seamless traffic-free transfer of the heart within 4 and half hours. The boy underwent surgery in mid-August and is currently recuperating well and can resume his school shortly.
Jasan Sangma and his family, who spoke to Nasheman, parised the collective efforts of the team at Narayana Health and said that, “they (doctors) were god sent.”