The All India Institute of Medical Sciences is set to perform a lung transplant — a procedure that had so far been unavailable in both government and private hospitals in Delhi. The country’s premier medical institute received the licence for performing lung transplants from the Delhi government in May, and it is valid for five years.
Lung transplant, or pulmonary transplantation, is a surgical procedure in which a patient’s diseased lungs are partially or totally replaced by lungs which come from a donor. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are often referred for a lung transplant.
“There are many who are in need of lung transplants but not many centres across the country offer it. In Delhi, we are the first hospital to have a licence to start a proper facility. We had applied for the licence a few months ago and the approval came to us in May. In the coming days, we will start working with patients,” Dr Aarti Vij, professor and faculty in-charge, Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), AIIMS told The Sunday Express. AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria had announced the facility at the institute’s convocation in December.
Lung transplantation in humans was first attempted by James Hardy in 1963. In India, Dr K M Cherian performed the first heart-lung transplant at Madras Medical Mission in 1999. In 2017, PGIMER in Chandigarh performed its first lung transplant and became the first in North India and the first government hospital in the country to perform such transplants.
“Delhi being the capital, and with the alarming pollution levels, this is a much-needed facility. Lung-related diseases are becoming common in the city. Such a high-end transplant being set up at a government hospital is an achievement for all of us. Many poor patients will benefit from this service,” Dr Vasanthi Ramesh, director, National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation, told The Sunday Express.
A recent report by the Centre for Science and Environment had suggested life expectancy in India has come down by 2.6 years due to deadly diseases caused by air pollution.