Combined heart and lung transplants - a rare surgery which was previously used as a last resort to treat end-stage lung disease is now being peformed in large numbers as there is an alarming rise in number of patients being referred to Cardiothoracic consultants at a much later stage when there is little to salvage.
Senior Consultants, Cardiothoracic and Transplant surgeons, Dr Paul Ramesh Thangaraj, Dr Sunder T and Dr Madhan Kumar discussed how comprehensive interdisciplinary end-stage lung disease management has ensured good success rates at Apollo Hospitals.
Speaking at the conference, Dr Paul Ramesh said, "The heart and lungs are intricately entwined organ systems. End stage lung disease can cause failure of the heart and end stage heart disease can cause failure of the lungs. Combined heart and lung transplants are an option for selected patients. A lung alone can be transplanted in those patients where the heart is not irreversibly damaged by lung disease. This calls for increased awareness and early referral. "
Apollo Hospitals, Chennai has performed heart and lung transplants on 6 patients in the last 18 months. It has also done the most number of combined heart and double lung transplants in India. The unit has also successfully performed this procedure on a 67 year old (this is second oldest patient in the world to receive this operation - the oldest was 68 year old).
Chennai, over the last few years, has witnessed a lot of transplants, but unfortunately there is little documentation on success rates of these transplants. The donor's family goes through a lot before taking this huge decision. But what happens after they donate their organs? What happens to people who receive these transplants in the long term? Have their lives been changed by the transplant? Has the ultimate altruistic act of the donor family made any impact on the lives of the people who received the gift?
Patients Mr Hanifa, Mr Asokan, Ms Devanayaki and Ms Aruna who successfully underwent transplants were also present to address and break common myths associated with transplants.