From unthinkable to Reality- the Journey of Heart Transplant in Medical
College & Hospital, Kolkata
The seed was planted way back in late 1980 s when ProfB.N.Guha Ray told us (we were MCh students then) stories about how Christiaan Barnard did the 1"heart transplant in Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa in December 1967.
Years passed, the college slowly developed the CTVS Department. Normal cardiac operation like CABG, valve replacement etc.we being done with good results.But we felt we were stagnating.So the question arose "What Next?"
After a lot of debate-theanswer emerged"Heart Transplant"-aimfor highest goal!
Weknew wehadthe time,the energy,the knowledgebut resources and training was lacking.To trainourselves we approached the anatomy departmentofMCH.
Wegot a consent todissect on cadavers and practiced heart retrieval,suturing the heart back as is done in Heart
Transplant in cadavers.
After a few dissections, we started gaining confidence and to honeour skills,weattended some wet lab sessions in different parts of thecountry.
In the meantime Heart Transplant licence was procured and other necessary formalities were completed. We also started a Heart failureclinic to identify patients with end stage Heart failure who were candidate for heart transplant with the co-operation of our Chairman, RKS, and Director ofMedical Education we also received the necessary funds needed.
We were prepared,the protocols were in place wehada few prospective recipients lined up, investigated and ready to be transplanted.The wait was for the day when we could get a suitabledonor.
Nov 17,2018 we got information that a suitable heart was available from SSKM. The recipient was wheeled into our operating room at 5.30am in the morning. The retrieval teamhadreached SSKM hospital by 6am.
As soon as we got clearance from SSKM hospital that the donor heart looked fme,the recipient surgery started here at around8.30am.
The donor heart reached medical college from SSKM in just 6 minutes via the green corridor and we were ready.Thetension of the 111transplant waspalpable!
The recipient heart was excised and taken out-a most eerie situation,that the person is alive without a heart in the chest. Then the donor heart was sutured into the empty space and after about 4 hours of surgery-the new heart wasbeating and pumping blood into the recipient body.What a relief,what a satisfaction!!
The patient had a smooth post operative period and we arranged for himto stay in one of our newly built hostel rooms with a lot of cooperation from our administration.We went to see his house in Asansol and since it was not ideal for a post transplant patient,wekepthimin the clean hostelrom.
The Health Department with the Labour Department arranged for a guest house room inAsansol for his initial stay and we arevery thankfultothem for their cooperation.
He is doing well and has even come to see and encourage our 2m cardiac transplant patient, who had his transplant on 20.12.2018. Both patients are well and we hope to carry out this programme successfully in Medical College.
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