Surgeon unavailable, PGI fails to attempt first lung transplant

In the past, the institute has retrieved two lungs from brain dead patients which were donated for research purposes to the institute.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh | Published:June 4, 2017 9:57 am
“We required two surgeons dealing with lungs. One of them was not available. The process, including the matching, was done and everything was ready for the first transplant,” said a senior PGI doctor.

The unavailability of a surgeon prevented the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research from attempting its first lung transplant on Saturday. The surgery required two cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons. One of the two doctors was away on the institute’s summer vacation.

The family members of a 40-year-old brain dead patient from Himachal Pradesh on Saturday gave their consent to donate the organs. On Saturday, after the institute failed to get recipients for the heart, they immediately shared the details with the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation, following which a team of a private hospital from Mumbai arrived in the city to airlift the heart and lungs. Till late night, the retrieval of the organs were on.

PGI sources told the Chandigarh Newsline that the institute could not initiate the first lung transplant owing to the unavailability of one surgeon. “We required two surgeons dealing with lungs. One of them was not available. The process, including the matching, was done and everything was ready for the first transplant,” said a senior PGI doctor.

Sources also said the other organs are being retrieved from the patient, including kidneys and liver, and would be transplanted to the recipients at the institute only.

The Chandigarh Newsline last week had reported that that the institute has stepped up the process to perform the first lung transplant after it received the much awaited lung preservation solution, which is mandatory before proceeding the transplant. Doctors said the recipient for the transplant was also identified.

In the past, the institute has retrieved two lungs from brain dead patients which were donated for research purposes to the institute.

Dr T Shyam K Singh, professor and head of department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, PGIMER, said he has no information about the case.

There has been an increase in the cadaver donation cases at PGI over the past few years. The institute, however, is yet to mark the beginning of performing the lung and live liver transplant. “No government hospital has performed any lung transplant so far. It was a disappointment today because we could not anything,” said a senior PGI doctor. “But, we will continue our efforts before the lung transplant is done.”

The Union government in 2014 had announced the PGI as the Regional Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (ROTTO) for the northern region.

The efforts of ROTTO have triggered a spike in the number of cadaver organ donation at the institute. From 26 in 2015, the institute has already done 23 cases this year.

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