Journey of Mumbai’s first paediatric heart transplant recipient

Sweden D’souza was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in 2015, received a heart from a 20-year-old donor from Indore in Jan 2016. Today, she leads a normal life. Speaking to My Medical Mantra, her father talks about the importance of organ donation and Sweden’s journey till now. Also, last year, she successfully passed her HSC exams securing a first class!

Sweden(centre) with her parents

About two years ago, in 2015 Vikhroli’s resident Anthony D’Souza and his wife were shocked when they learnt that their beloved daughter Sweden, aged 17 at the time, was diagnosed with end stage heart disease. All they knew then was that she ardently needed a heart transplant.

  • It was on January 2, 2016, that the family’s wait ended as the kin of a 20-year-old donor from Indore consented for organ donation.
  • The donor heart was transported to Mumbai and transplanted into Sweden.
  • Sweden was Mumbai’s first paediatric heart recipient. She was discharged after 2.5 weeks of hospitalisation.
  • Keeping in mind infection prevention guidelines that were explained by the doctors, Sweden’s family made arrangements to make a separate room for her in their house.

Sweden was put on immunosuppressant’s, which is a lifelong medication; her parents chalked-out a timetable for medication administration and followed-up regularly with the transplant team.

She was advised to wear a mask at all times, follow her medication without fail and to follow a recommended diet. Sweden travelled to college in rickshaw, avoiding direct exposure to pollution.

Her father Anthony D’Souza said, “Till this very day, we are eternal grateful to the donor family who has given life to our child. A day doesn’t go by that they are not in our prayers. We join the other organ recipients, who are working towards spreading awareness about organ donation”.

As per Sweden, “If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t be here today. I owe everything to them and I am certainly going to make it up to them by working hard. For the doctors at Fortis Hospital who have treated me with such compassion, I am forever grateful.”

The group of doctors who conducted the first paediatric heart transplant included Dr Anvay Mulay and Dr Vijay Agarwal.

Dr Anvay Mulay, Head of Cardiac Transplant Team, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, said, “Sweden’s has been a remarkable journey; as she lives a normal life today, she hopes to give a better life to her parents. Our first paediatric heart recipient continues to engage with the community, along with her parents, to promote the cause of Organ Donation; what a beautiful way to set examples for generations to follow!”