The MGM Healthcare Center in Chennai witnessed the rare feat of successful heart transplantation from a different blood group on a one-and-a-half-year-old child who had to endure two cardiac arrests while on the way to the hospital from Bulgaria.
The child was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, a type of heart muscle disease that causes the heart chambers (ventricles) to thin and stretch, growing larger. The child was brought in as an emergency case following severe heart failure.
On the way, the child suffered two cardiac arrests, necessitating resuscitation on both occasions. Upon arriving at the hospital, the child was put on a heart-supporting device and placed under observation. The child regained conscience 48 hours later.
The heart of a two-year-old brain-dead child in Mumbai became available at this point. Though it belonged to a different blood group, the doctors decided to go ahead as the underdeveloped immune systems in infants meant minimal risk of organ rejection.
Post-surgery, the child was sustained on ECMO support. On August 22, doctors announced that the heart transplant procedure was a success. The child was "thriving, smiling, dancing, and learning during this time," according to the parents.
Dr. K.R. Balakrishnan, Director of the Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support at MGM Healthcare, and Dr. Suresh Rao K.G., Co-Director, led the procedure. The episode marks another feather in the cap for India's standing as a global leader in the health and wellness sector.