Fortis Centre for Heart Failure & Transplant at Fortis Malar Hospital successfully conducted 150 heart transplants in Chennai recently. This is the first time any hospital has performed this record number of heart transplants in the entire South Asia. The centre has sustained an excellent outcome with one year survival rate in over 90% of all transplants conducted. The team of doctors led by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, Director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Centre for Heart Failure & Transplant and Dr. Suresh Rao KG, Chief of Cardiac Anesthesia & Critical Care at Fortis Malar Hospital.
Speaking at the endeavor, Dr. K.R. Balakrishnan said, "India has found an answer to the organ scarcity question in Tamil Nadu. We have been able to achieve this beautiful feat because of the love and support that the organ donation cause has received from all sections of the society in the state. The team takes humble pride in the fact that it acted as a medium to translate the will of organ donation into action & save as many lives.”
The scarcity of various organs has been posing as an enormous barrier from saving many lives today. According to Government estimates,[i] the need of organ transplants for new cases of organ failure every year is 2 lakh for kidneys; 30,000 for liver; and 50,000 for heart. With the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in India, the importance of raising the pitch of organ donation is at paramount importance now. As per an estimate of World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs are estimated to account for almost 5.87 million; i.e. 60% of total deaths in India.[ii] Among others Cardio Vascular Diseases like Coronary Heart Disease, stroke & hypertension contribute majority of all deaths due to NCD at 45%.
Emphasizing on the gravity of the situation, Dr. Suresh Rao K. G. said, “It is time that we acknowledge that the situation is grim. The demand for organs is only going to rise. In a country of billon people, we are not short of clinical expertise, infrastructure or benevolence but awareness about organ donation. Majority of people are still unaware about possibility of cadaver donation to save lives. Someone is praying for your kind gesture that may give a fresh lease of life. We sincerely hope that our humble feat will remove any kind of apprehension that one may have around organ donation. It is time we step up to the challenge and start talking about organ donation to save lives.”
Fortis Malar Hospital achieved this unique feat with the support and blessings of many. The donor families, the police and administration, the government, the support staff and common man are all part of this journey that saved so many lives by way of successful heart transplants since 2010 at the hospital.
Mr. Raj Gore, Chief Operating Officer (COO – South & West), Fortis Healthcare said, “We, as a healthcare provider, are committed to the cause of organ donation. Apart from creating awareness about the nobility in donating organs to save lives, it is something that we would like to be remembered for. In this moment of recognition, we would like to thank everyone who has made this possible. The kindhearted donor families, the police and administration, the government, the entire team at Fortis Malar Hospital and the excellent team of doctors deserve to be applauded. The entire Fortis takes pride in what our team has achieved today. We hope that this sends out a message that thousands of lives can be saved if we come together for the cause of organ donation.”
Tamil Nadu has showcased a successful model of organ donation. It has been adopted by many other states & steps have been taken to improve the situation but it is far from ideal. According to Mohan Foundation, the National Organ Donation Rate was 0.34 per million population in 2014. Even though this is an improvement compared to 016 per million population in 2012, there is a lot to be done. Cadaver donation accounts for almost 40% of liver transplants & 15% of kidney transplants.[iii]
While thanking the various stakeholders involved in different phases of organ donation, Dr. Balakrishnan cautioned that more needs to be done in this regard. He added, “The success of the cause should not deter us from the fact that there is still more to be done, more lives to be saved and still more to give. We sincerely hope that the example of the state is upheld nationally. I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been instrumental in some way or the other to facilitate an organ donation.”
Dr. Sanjay Pandey, Facility Director, Fortis Malar Hospital said, “At Fortis Center for Heart Failure & Transplant, we have the largest heart transplant programme in the country. Our team of renowned doctors and highly skilled support staff have been saving lives by transplanting hearts including many critical and unique cases. It is a privilege to be working along with such a capable team that is making enormous contribution towards saving & improving lives and contributing richly for promotion of such a noble cause."
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