Max Hospital Saket pernot formed its first heart transplant, saving the life of a poor patient hailing from a minority community. Heart transplants in India are still very rare, not because of the lack of medical skills, but unfortunately, because of the lack of organs.
A miraculous chain of events, led to this path-breaking surgery, helping save a life of a young man, the sole bread-winner of his family.
The patient Altaf, (name changed) was suffering from end stage cardiac failure for many years. He would get breathless even with the slightest of exertions and his only hope was a heart transplant. Hoping against hope, the patient had approached Dr. Kewal Krishan, programme In- Charge heart transplant and ventricular assist devices, Max Hospital Saket, in De-cember 2014. He had been wait-listed for a heart transplant and was being medically managed by Dr. Krishan. He had also been pre-worked up for a possible transplant.
While Altaf, waited for an unlikely new heart, he had to be admitted thrice in the hospital to manage his rapidly deteriorating condition. Con-sidering the number of people waiting for a heart transplant and the avail¬ability of donors, Altaf's chances of getting a heart in time appeared slim.
Late in the night, Dr. Kewal Krishan got a call from Mohan Foundation, an NGO that works in this field, that a heart might become available at an¬other city hospital. In the city hospital, another young man had tragically died following an accident and his family members had generously agreed to donate his organs.
Dr. Krishan called up Altaf and asked him to report to Max Hospital imme-diately. A team of doctors from Max Healthcare rushed to the city hospi-tal to harvest the heart and bring the organ safely to Max Hospital Saket. The local police acted swiftly and cre¬ated a green corridor, which allowed the team to travel a distance of 20kms in a mere 16 mins.
While the team retrieving the heart was bringing the organ to Max Health¬care, Altaf was quickly prepared for a heart transplant surgery at Max Hos¬pital. He was now ready to receive a new heart. Dr. Krishan brought the harvested heart and transplanted to the recipi¬ent. The whole procedure from the time of harvesting to transplantation finished in two and a half hours. The whole exercise happened smoothly.
The entire Max cardiac team involv¬ing cardiac surgeons, cardiac anaes¬thetists, operating room nursing staff and the ambulance teams worked all through the night to save Altaf's life. Altaf, who works as a general handyman could not afford this sur¬gery. Max Healthcare ensured that this did not come in the way of a suc¬cessful transplant. The patient contin¬ues to be in the hospital and is mak¬ing steady progress. He was recently discharged from the hospital in good condition. Altaf can now lead a nor¬mal life and perform all activities that a normal person does.
Dr. Viveka Kumar, director, cath lab, Max Hospital, Saket, said that this therapy is going to help many patients with end stage heart failure and would give them a new lease of life. He also mentioned that when donor heart is not available ventricu¬lar assist device (VAD) is the only alternative to save life.
Dr. Kewal has done four years of ad¬vanced clinical fellowships at world's top hospitals, including Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN, USA and Mount Sinai Medical center, New York, USA, where he gained expertise in advanced thera¬pies in end stage heart failure. He was trained by internationally-renowned surgeons for heart transplant and ven¬tricular assist devices (VADs).
Dr. Kewal is one of the hand-ful surgeons in India who are for-mally trained in all aspects of transplantation. He was trained intensively in the entire spectrum of VADs including bridge to transplant, short term and long term devices and destination therapy. He has many publications in international journals to his name in this field including the innovative techniques in ventricular assist devices.
Max Hospital, Saket runs the largest heart failure programme in North India. The hospital has also implanted four left ventricular assist devices (LVAD's) in the last six months. These are very high-end devices that help patients suffering from end-stage Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), live normal lives. The hospital also runs an Extra Corpo-real Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) programme, which allows very sick patients to recover their heart and lung functions, particuraly those who are on ventilator and doctors believe that the patient would only survive for few hours. The heart failure programme at the hospital is comprehensive, unique and very well-coordinated.