Despite the existence since 2007 of a co-ordination committee for post brain death organ donation in Karnataka organ transplants in the state have witnessed slow progress in the face of a number of misconceptions that still exist over donating organs like the heart, liver, lungs and kidney.
A Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Organ Transplantation (ZCCK) has since 2007 co-ordinated only 89 organ transplants while there are nearly 1382 registered patients on a waiting list for transplantation including 1053 for kidney transplants, 274 patients for liver, 28 for heart and 14 for lungs.
“Many of the patients registered in the state to receive organs die because they do not find donors,” a ZCCK official said. While the life expectancy of a person without an organ transplant will be around two years a successful transplant can increase expectancy by up to 26 years, according to experts.
According to the ZCCK official Dr K Manjula the resistance to donating organs comes from a misconception that it will result in defacement of the cadaver donor, expectations of monetary benefits and a feeling that hospitals may profit from organ donors.
In a rare cadaver organ transplant in Karnataka a 17-year-old boy from Meghalaya recently received a new heart from a donor in Chennai. Jasan Sangma, 17, had been suffering from a rare-genetic heart disease ‘Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dyslplasia’ (ARVD). He underwent a transplant on August 15 with a heart donated by the family of a person who suffered brain death in Chennai.
“For two years the teenager had been suffering from sudden and abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Given his young age we took his case on a priority basis and registered him with the Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Organ Transplantation (ZCCK),” said Dr Shreesha Maiya, a cardiologist at a private Bangalore hospital where the transplant was conducted.
“Unlike liver, kidney and lungs that can survive six hours or more with appropriate storage the heart has a very narrow window of four hours between harvesting and transplant. If we breach the window period for transplant the entire exercise will be a waste. This is why transportation of organs is also a crucial factor,” a senior consultant interventional cardiologist Dr Bagirath Raghuraman said.
In Jasan Sangma’s case the cadaver heart donated in Chennai was brought to Bangalore in quick time with the help of traffic police in both cities and the co-operation of airline and medical authorities.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines