A 10-year-old girl from Jharkhand became the youngest heart transplant patient at AIIMS last week, when she received a heart from an adult donor.
The girl, who had been admitted to the Cardiothoracic and Vascular surgery (CTVS) ward last month, was diagnosed with a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. In this condition, the heart and its cavity become enlarged affecting its function. This also made it possible for her to receive an adult heart, doctors said.
“Her condition became progressively worse last month. Fluid began collecting in her abdomen and chest cavity, her face got swollen and her heart almost shut down… But this is also the reason why she could receive the adult heart. Since the cavity of her heart and muscles were enlarged, we could consider a larger heart for her,” CTVS chief Dr Balram Airan said.
Her condition was so critical that doctors had been planning a surgery to implant a ventricular device till a paediatric heart was available for her.
But her condition, and the fact that the adult patient who was next on the waiting list — with a cavity and heart size “more proportional” to the girl — was out of town, made doctors take the decision on January 3.
Though the blood group of the deceased donor and the recipient matched, doctors said he must have weighed around 55 kg while the girl weighed less than 30 kg.
During the night-long surgery, doctors had to realign the girl’s blood vessels. “There are minor differences in the size of blood vessels between donor and recipient, but in this case the mismatch was more extensive. So we had to correct them surgically during the transplant,” Dr Airan explained.
Three days after the surgery, doctors said the patient has stabilisied. “She has been extubated and will be put on liquid feeds soon. The swelling in her body has gone down and her condition is stable. She has taken the transplant very well,” Dr Airan said.
The donor, Dharmendra Yadav (25) was injured in a road accident and declared brain dead at AIIMS. Doctors said his relatives agreed to donate his organs.