Chennai docs perform smallest artificial heart transplant

Chennai docs perform smallest artificial heart transplant

In first of its kind effort, doctors at Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai have carried out the smallest artificial heart transplant.

In August, a team of doctors lead by Dr K R Balakrishnan successfully fixed the HVAD (Heartware Ventricular Assist Device) to a patient Satish Kumar, 42, who suffered from end-stage heart failure.

Satish Kumar, a Chennai-based private banker, was diagnosed with dilated cardio myopathy in May 2011. He was doing fine with medical management. But he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in the first week of August, while driving his car.” He was immediately rushed to the hospital,” says Sukanya, Satish’s wife.

Dr Balakrishnan said as Satish was brought in, his heart had almost collapsed completely. He explained that he was revived back to life after three days and 150 shocks. The doctor said surgery could not have saved him and getting heart transplant was the only way.

Chennai enjoys the reputation as the leading metro for organ donation, and the waiting time for a heart transplant is three months. “The problem is whenever we need a heart, we don’t get them instantly. In the west the waiting time is close to 2 years. So we developed the artificial heart,” Balakrishnan explained.

A Ventricular Assist Device sustains a patient until he gets a transplant. The earlier VADs were almost the size of a ball and had to be fixed in the region with a pouch.
But the HVAD -the third and the latest among the generation of VADs – is just the size of a lemon and can be fixed to the heart quite easily. It is the least invasive, Balakrishnan explained.

The patient, Satish Kumar, said he was given a second life by the device.

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