Chennai creates history, becomes first city in South Asia to perform maximum number of heart transplants

The scarcity of various organs has posed to be an enormous barrier from saving many lives today. According to Government estimates, the need of organ transplants for new cases of organ failure every year is 2 lakh for kidneys; 30,000 for liver; and 50,000 for heart

hennai creates history, becomes first city in South Asia to perform maximum number of heart transplants
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Fortis Centre for Heart Failure and Transplant at Fortis Malar Hospital successfully conducted 150 heart transplants in Chennai recently, creating a record. This is the first time any hospital has performed this number of heart transplants in South Asia. The centre has sustained an excellent outcome with one year survival rate which is over 90% of all transplants conducted.

The team of doctors included Dr KR Balakrishnan, Director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Centre for Heart Failure & Transplant and Dr Suresh Rao KG, Chief of Cardiac Anaesthesia and Critical Care at Fortis Malar Hospital.

Speaking about this endeavour, Dr Balakrishnan, said, “India has found an answer to the question of organ scarcity in Tamil Nadu. The team takes pride in the fact that it acted as a medium to translate the will of organ donation into action and save as many lives as possible.”

Scarcity of various organs has posed to be an enormous barrier from saving many lives today. According to government estimates, the need of organ transplants for new cases of organ failure every year is Rs2 lakh for kidneys; Rs30,000 for liver; and Rs50,000 for heart.

With the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in India, importance of raising pitch of organ donation is of paramount importance now.

As per an estimate of World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs are estimated to account for almost 5.87 million; i.e. 60% of total deaths in India. Among others cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension contribute majority of all deaths due to NCD at 45%.

Emphasizing on the gravity of the situation, Dr Rao, said, “It is time that we acknowledge that the situation is grim. The demand for organs is only going to rise. In a country of a billion people, we are not short of clinical expertise, infrastructure or benevolence but awareness about organ donation. It is time we step up to the challenge and start talking about organ donation to save lives.”

Fortis Malar Hospital achieved this unique feat with the support of donor families, police and administration, government and staff. It has saved many lives with successful heart transplants since 2010.

Raj Gore, Chief Operating Officer (COO – South & West), Fortis Healthcare, said, “We hope that this sends out a message that thousands of lives can be saved if we come together for the cause of organ donation.”

Tamil Nadu has showcased a successful model of organ donation. It has been adopted by many other states and steps have been taken to improve the situation but it is far from ideal.

According to Mohan Foundation, the National Organ Donation Rate was 0.34 per million population in 2014. Even though this is an improvement compared to 016 per million population in 2012, there is a lot to be done. Cadaver donation accounts for almost 40% of liver transplants and 15% of kidney transplants.

Dr Sanjay Pandey, Facility Director, Fortis Malar Hospital said, “We have the largest heart transplant programme in India. Our team of renowned doctors and highly skilled support staff have been saving lives by transplanting hearts including many critical and unique cases. It is a privilege to be working alongside with such a capable team.”