In an exhaustive search across four states for a suitable heart transplant patient earlier this week, AIIMS doctors spent hours looking for recipients, after a 40-year-old man from Uttarakhand was declared brain dead. However, doctors said the heart could not be used despite the family’s consent, as no suitable recipient could be arranged in time from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana or Rajasthan.
The man became the second cadaver organ donor at AIIMS this week after he died due to injuries sustained in an accident in Khanpur. Meanwhile, his kidneys and liver have been transplanted to other patients at AIIMS. Doctors said they are recovering well.
The man was brought to the hospital on August 11 with head injuries and admitted to the ICU. On August 13, doctors declared him brain dead after his condition did not improve. After four counselling sessions, the family agreed to donate his organs.
Sources said the family was against giving the heart to a private hospital at first, but they agreed after doctors convinced them that the patient would be brought to AIIMS and operated if found suitable.
“A child who needed a heart transplant was the only one matching the donor’s blood group. But after doctors evaluated the case, an adult heart transplant on the child was found unsuitable. Our cardiothoracic surgeons contacted government hospitals in most of north India for other potential recipients, but failed to find a suitable recipient,” an AIIMS official said.
“We found two patients who matched the donor’s blood group in two private hospitals but unfortunately they were both overweight. Doctors felt the transplant would not be successful,” the official explained. Eventually, his heart valves were preserved in the AIIMS cadaver heart valve bank.
“Such an exhaustive search for recipients happens in rare cases. It was a challenge for us. It was also a medico-legal case. Despite being very busy with security arrangements before Independence Day, the investigating officer got us the no-objection certificate on time,” said Rajeev Maikhuri, transplant coordinator at AIIMS.