How did Gujarat become a centre of excellence in Heart Transplant Surgery? – Dr Dhaval Naik explains in details

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April 12: A heart transplant is an operation in which a diseased, failing heart is replaced with a healthier heart, received from brain dead patient. This treatment is reserved for patients, suffering from heart failure and whose condition hasn’t improved enough with medications or other surgeries.  The chances of survival improve drastically after heart transplant surgery with appropriate person selection and post-operative care.

CIMS Hospital in Gujarat has performed 14 heart transplants last year and surpassed 25 in 5 years. Thus, Ahmedabad rapidly slides up in numbers across the country.   “Apart from the best surgical skills, other important factors helped for this achievement” quoted Dr Dhaval Naik, Heart Transplant surgeon in Ahmedabad.

The first and foremost objective is the proper allocation of organs from braindead patients and thanks to SOTTO, State Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organization. SOTTO is a web application designed and developed for Govt. of Gujarat, for supporting the Cadaver Organ Harvesting Transplantation that will be performed in various registered Government and Private Hospitals located across the state. Till the last record, 1244 recipients are registered in SOTTO, waiting for different transplant surgery. Also, 374 organs are allocated so far which includes 103 livers, 184 kidneys, 33 hearts, 44 lungs and 10 pancreases. In summary, SOTTO has made the organ donation and allocation system smooth in Gujarat state.

Everyone knows that heart transplant surgery is not economical and costs almost 20 to 25 lakhs to the patient. The Government of Gujarat did not miss the opportunity to help needy patients. Mr Vijay Rupani, prior chief minister of the state, called me at his home to review other states’ compensation policies for heart transplant recipients. After a meaningful meeting, he agreed to grant INR 7.5 lakhs to each enrolled patient. That was a very bold and epic move and the community will always remain thankful to him, says Dr Naik. Another important issue was the need for an air ambulance for transportation of organs and the government is looking positively to addressing this issue.

Again, while on roads, the heart has to travel even faster within heavy traffic situations in the city. Gujarat police understood the importance of the ‘Green Corridor’ long back. A ‘green corridor’ is a special route that is managed in a way that all the traffic signals that come along the route of the hospital where an organ is harvested and the hospital where it is to be transplanted, are green and controlled manually. Nowadays it’s a single phone call and police draw a route to establish it, thanks to Gujarat Police, added Dr Naik.

The most crucial part for any transplant programme to develop and sustain is organ donation willingness by diseased family members. Let’s simplify it. A patient could be declared dead in two ways; one is if the heart stops working and the second is the brain. In the second scenario, patient’s organs can be donated with families consent. A braindead person can donate various organs e.g. heart, lungs, hands, liver, kidneys, eyes, pancreas, intestine, skin and bones. There are number of NGOs working to motivate organ donation activity in the state. Because of their efforts to promote organ donation programs, Gujarat has become the top state in this field.

CIMS Hospital in Ahmedabad is having a team of extremely talented doctors. Most of them are trained in world’s renowned hospitals and are having a tremendous amount of expertise to treat heart failure patients. Most praising, the hospital runs a state of the art  Heart Failure Clinic, where they enrol all patients with weak hearts and engage them in treatment and education. So far, CIMS hospital has performed 27 heart transplants with results that match international standards and this achievement put Ahmedabad and thus Gujarat on top rank in India. I wish more hospitals should learn and perform heart transplants to help the needy patients most, Dr Dhaval Naik desires.

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