KOLKATA: Medical College and Hospital (MCH) became the first government hospital in the state to carry out a successful heart transplant on Saturday.
A 38-year-old, suffering from dilated cardio-myopathy, received the heart of a 32-year-old, who was declared brain dead at SSKM Hospital on Friday night. A green corridor was created between the two hospitals to transport the organ in barely six minutes. The transplant procedure, which lasted five hours, was led by cardio-thoracic surgeon Plaban Mukhopadhyay. This is the fifth heart transplant in the city, the first four having been conducted at two private hospitals. Calcutta Medical College received a heart transplant licence in 2017.
Apart from the heart, the donor’s kidneys, too, were transplanted to two patients at SSKM, while the corneas were donated to Sankara Nethralaya. The skin has been stored at the SSKM’s skin bank. However, the liver couldn’t be used as it suffered 75% damage.
The donor, Saikat Lattu, a resident of Pujali in South 24 Parganas, was declared brain dead at 8pm on Friday. Saikat had been under treatment at SSKM for several weeks for a brain tumour. His family was informed that since his organs were still functioning normally, they could be donated. Once they agreed, the SSKM authorities contacted the Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (ROTTO) and a search for a recipient commenced. A 38-year-old cardiac patient undergoing treatment at Calcutta Medical College was identified. The transplant surgery started around 10am on Saturday and got over around 3pm.
Those who received Lattu’s kidneys were two patients at SSKM, aged 32 and 34 years. “This is a big step ahead for a government hospital. Kidneys have been transplanted in government hospitals in the past, but this is the first time that a patient admitted to a government hospital donated a heart to a recipient in another government hospital. We hope many such transplants would follow,” said Mukhopadhyay, who led the 10-member surgical team, which included eight surgeons and two anaesthetists.
“It was a critical procedure as the recipient was in a very serious condition. His heart was pumping at just 10%-15% of the normal rate. He would have died without a transplant. The donated heart gives him a new life,” said Mukhopadhyay. The patient will be kept under observation for 72 hours. “He will be on ventilation overnight and depending on his condition, we shall decide the future course of action. So far, everything has gone off well and we are keeping our fingers crossed.”
The recipient has been under treatment at Calcutta Medical College for a fortnight.
Saikat’s father, Swadesh Lattu, said he was happy his son’s organs would help save the lives of at least three persons. “He was my only son. When doctors told me his organs could be donated, I consulted some of my family members. They felt I should agree. My son will continue to live in the recipients’ bodies. Every brain-dead patient’s family should consider organ donation,” he said.