Dilchand Singh, 39, is set to be discharged from Anandapur’s Fortis Hospital next week, days after he became eastern India’s first heart transplant recipient on May 21. Doctors treating Singh, who is from Jharkhand, said has responded well to the treatment and is recovering as they declared the transplant successful on Tuesday. Singh was shifted out of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to a single room on Monday. Two members of his family are being allowed to meet him. Transplant surgeon Dr Tapas Ray Chaudhury said Singh’s invasive monitoring lines have been removed. “He has been eating a normal diet and doing his routine physiotherapy and cardiac rehabilitation exercises.”
Raychaudhury said Singh has started walking 10-15 minutes daily. “…he has been kept in sterile environment in a single room as he remains on immunosuppressive drugs (which impact the immune system). After adjusting his drug dosage, he will be allowed to go home in seven days.” The hospital will bear the monthly cost of Rs 25,000 for the medicines he will require and give two smartphones to Singh’s relatives to stay in touch with his doctors. It has appealed to the state government to subsidise heart transplants. A heart transplant costs around Rs 20 lakh. But it was carried out for free in Singh’s case.
Singh suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy that lessens heart’s ability to pump blood and leads to enlargement of its left ventricle. The doctors were waiting for a donor for Singh’s transplant since January 2017. They carried it out after the family of a 21-year-old donor man, declared brain dead after a road accident on May 19 in Bengaluru, agreed to donate his heart.
The harvested organ was transported from Bengaluru to Kolkata. A green corridor was created to carry the heart from the Kolkata airport to the hospital, 18 km away. The distance was covered in 18 minutes.
An estimated 5,000 patients need a heart transplant in India annually but only a few get donors.