Apollo Hospital, Chennai, has successfully performed a combined heart and double lung transplant on the oldest recipient recorded in the medical history of India. This rare surgery was performed on a 67 year old patient, Hanifa, a businessman from Kerala, who is now on the road to complete recovery. A few months back, doctors at Apollo Hospitals performed a multi-organ transplant and gave him a new lease of life.
The patient, Mr. Hanifa from Kerala, was suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis with severe irreparable right heart failure leading to a combined end stage heart and lung failure. 4 months back, Hanifa visited Apollo Hospitals where doctors told him that he needed a transplant and was kept on hold in the waiting list of organs very soon. However, in March, his condition further deteriorated rapidly and he was rushed to the hospital due to low blood pressure and breathlessness.
“He clearly told us that he did not want to be kept on a ventilator and he wanted to go for a transplant as he did not want anything to affect his quality of life. Hanifa got lucky when we found a young donor within a fortnight,” said Dr T Paul Ramesh, Consultant heart and lung transplant surgeon.
This complex transplant was performed by a 3 member team that lasted for more than 2 hours on 15th March and the patient is leading a normal life. Dr. T Paul Ramesh also said that a combined heart & lung transplant is a very rare and complex procedure. The team of doctors that performed this complex surgery comprises of Dr. Paul Ramesh, Senior Consultant, Dr. Sunder, Consultant and Dr. Madan Kumar, Consultant at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.
“Initially, I found it very difficult. But now I have recovered and am undergoing rehabilitation. Only 3,400 such transplants have been done worldwide so far and it is tricky to attempt it in elderly people. In Apollo, we have done three such transplants in people above 50 years and two of them have survived,” said the doctor.
The cost of transplant procedure in India is 25 times less than that in abroad. “The surgery which costs Rs 7.5 crore in foreign countries c an be completed with only Rs 30 lakh in India,” said Dr. T Paul Ramesh. The doctor also said that Rs. 30 lakh is quite an large amount for Indian patients so effective cost-cutting would allow middle-class families to afford this procedure.
“An objective method would be to submit data to international registries and benchmark outcomes against global data. At Apollo, we are also planning to have patients narrating their experiences post surgery on our website so that others can get a better idea about the concept,” said Dr Ramesh.