Despite the enormous challenges posed during these COVID-19 times, MGM Healthcare, a multi-speciality quaternary care hospital in the heart of the city, today announced the successful completion of a second critical heart transplant in the hospital since the lockdown began. The heart transplantation was led by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, Chairman & Director of Cardiac Sciences and Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program at MGM Healthcare, along with his team of transplant specialists including Dr. Suresh Rao K. G. and Dr. Srinath V.The organ transplantation regulatory authorities and surgeons from Pune extended their full support in making this heart transplant a success especially considering that it occurred during the COVID times.

The transplant was performed on a 37-year-old lady from Chennai. She had been suffering from ischemic cardiomyopathy. The patient was suffering from end-stage heart failure and the transplant was the only form of survival.

MGM Healthcare received an alert on August 15, 2020, about a 39-year-old brain dead female patient at a private hospital in Pune. The cause of her brain death was reported to be Brain Hemorrhage.

MGM Healthcare immediately confirmed the requirement as the recipient was already registered in the waiting list handled by National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO). Post-registration, she was waiting for a suitable donor. Once the deceased patient in Pune was identified based on medical compatibility, the recipient was informed about the possibility of the transplant taking place after taking consent from the donor’s family.

“The biggest challenge faced was the non-availability of any commercial flight between Pune and Chennai around the organ retrieval time. As the transplant was funded by Tamil Nadu Govt scheme and no commercial flight was not available arranging a chartered flight was challenging. We approached Aishwarya trust for the same and Mrs Chitra was kind enough to sponsor the same and an air ambulance was arranged” said Dr K R Balakrishnan.

The respective Traffic Police Departments in both Pune and Chennai opened ‘Green Corridors’ for road travel from the hospital in Pune to Pune Airport, and from Chennai Airport to MGM Healthcare. The donor organ landed in Chennai at 6:30 P.M. on August 16, 2020. The ambulance carrying the organ reached MGM Healthcare from Chennai Airport in 11 minutes flat, which under normal traffic conditions would take anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half. The transplant procedure started immediately after the heart reached MGM Healthcare. Post-transplant, the patient has been moved to ICU for observation.

Commenting on the transplant Dr Suresh Rao said: “The Heart transplant was successfully performed by 9:00 pm and the patient is off the ventilator and doing well”.

Speaking on the occasion, Harish Manian, CEO, MGM Healthcare said, “This is indeed a proud moment for MGM Healthcare…an instance where despite the challenges posed on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, various state machinery including the Traffic Police Department, Airport Authorities, Air Ambulance seamlessly collaborated to reach the organ to our hospital in the shortest possible time, becoming an integral part of our ‘Healthcare Movement’. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone who supported us in giving a fresh lease of life to the young lady.”