Pune, which topped the list of organ donations in Maharashtra in 2018, has taken a lead over Mumbai in number of successful heart transplants.
Over the last two years, 15 heart transplants have taken place in Pune as against five in Mumbai. In 2017, nine heart transplants took place in Pune and six in 2018, whereas, in Mumbai, five heart transplants took place in 2017 and none in 2018.
All the heart transplants carried out in 2017 and 2018 took place at Pune’s Ruby Hall Clinic, according to the National organ and tissue transplant organisation.
Dr Vasanthi Ramesh, director, of the organisation, said Maharashtra has been leading in terms of awareness campaigns and programmes for organ donations. Heart transplants have been picking pace in Maharashtra’s cities and in other states also. While Chandigarh received an approval recently, heart transplants have been taking place in Delhi and Tamil Nadu, she said.
“Improved rate of cadaver donation, team work and constant efforts through awareness and counselling has helped the centres to perform more surgeries with success,” Dr. Ramesh said.
Aarti Gokhale, chief coordinator, Zonal transplant coordination centre said, “There are varied reasons for Pune scoring over Mumbai which started performing heart transplants before us. The reasons include aggressive promotion of cadaver donation, increase in cadaver donation which was an impact of counselling and persual by the transplant coordinators; and continuous awareness programmes conducted by us with the help of NGOs and hospitals in Pune city and other districts.”
She said that last year, the zonal centre undertook 40 awareness campaigns and 11 academic workshops where continuous medical education (CME) programmes along with donor management programmes were held.
This helped increase the number of organ donors and donor pledges by 20 per cent in the last two years. “We have also observed that there is a rise of at least 20 per cent in enquiries from general public about organ donations and how to promote organ donations. This is all because of the consistent efforts by the Pune team including doctors, hospitals, the zonal centre and NGOs,” she said.
Dr Manoj Durairaj, joint secretary, Indian society of heart and lung transplants, who also pioneered heart transplant surgery in Pune, said, “Heart transplant surgery has increased in the last two years in Pune.”
He also corroborated that increased awareness among people about cadaver donations and efforts taken by the transplant centres, coordinators and counsellors to educate relatives of patients about organ donations has helped in a big way. “There were only 10 centres till 2017, but in the last two years the centres have grown to 25,” he added.
Dr Sanjeev Jadhav, head, heart transplant department at Apollo Hospital, Mumbai, who performed western Maharashtra’s first heart transplant in Mumbai in 2015, said, although heart transplants were done in Mumbai before Pune, the coordination among the organisations involved in organ donation in Pune is better.
While Mumbai has three approved centres that perform heart transplant surgeries, namely, Fortis, Kokilaben Ambani and Apollo hospitals; in Pune, Ruby Hall Clinic and Sahyadri Hospital are permitted to conduct transplants, said Jadhav. Dr Sunil Rao, group COO of Sahyadri Hospital said, “Sahyadri Hospital received the approval to conduct heart transplants last year and now has a full-fledged team along with a strong team of coordinators and surgeons. The hospital attempted three transplants and even donors were ready, but, “since their hearts were found to be unfit, we could not perform any heart transplant so far,” he said. The hospital presently has a strong waiting list and there are more than 10 recipients waiting to get a heart transplant surgery at Sahyadri, he said.
Dr Sanjay Pathare, medical director and chairperson, Ruby Hall Clinic’s transplantation authorisation committee said, Ruby Hall received a licence to conduct heart transplant surgeries in 2017. The high number of transplants were possible “because of the constant coordination between our team and other cities from where the organ (heart) was flown to us in time. Hence, we were able to perform the transplant surgeries on the needy patients since 2017.”