Heart travels 3000 km from Kashmir to Chennai, saves life of woman

Chennai: A heart from an 18-year-old brain dead donor was transported over 3000 kilometres to Chennai and provided a fresh lease of life to a 33-year-old Kashmiri woman, who was suffering from terminal heart failure.

Shahzadi Fathima, a patient from Srinagar, had worsening heart failure symptoms due to Restrictive Cardiomyopathy (RCM), a condition where the chambers of the heart become stiff over time.

She became terminally ill and her only hope of survival was an early life saving heart transplantation.

With her condition worsening, on December 31, 2021, she was admitted with sign of severe heart failure. Doctors at MGM healthcare a Chennai soon treated her with isotropes and other medications.

On January 26, 2022, a suitable brain-dead donor was identified in a private hospital in Trichy.

The heart was soon rushed to Chennai through a green corridor and high-risk heart transplantation was carried out on Shahzadi.

She made an uneventful recovery after the procedure and is ready to begin a new life in Kashmir.

Fatima an unmarried woman from Kashmir lives with her brother, a daily wage earner, who was not able to meet her medical expenses and the cost of the transplant.

Seeing the plight of this woman, Aishwarya Trust, a non- profit HEALTHCARE organisation that supports the medical expenses of deserving patients decided to support the entire cost of the transplant at MGM Healthcare.

Chitra Viswanathan, the founder of Aishwarya Trust said it was a meaningful way for Aishwarya Trust to celebrate Republic Day by funding the lady’s heart transplant on 26th January 2022.

For its part, MGM Healthcare carried out the transplant at a subsidized cost.

Dr K R Balakrishnan, Director – Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support of MGM Healthcare, who led the surgery, lauded the efforts of the victim’s family in generously agreeing for organ donation in the face of great personal tragedy and Transtan which oversees the organ donation activity in the state.

Such life saving transplants need coordination and support from several people and is a true team effort, said Dr Suresh Rao, Co-Director Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support.

Dr. Ravikumar R, Sr. Consultant & Clinical Lead -Cardiology & Heart Failure Program, MGM Healthcare said heart failure is an under recognized problem in India. “The quality of life and longevity of end stage heart failure patients who are not responding to conventional therapy can be improved by advanced procedures like heart transplant and Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD).”

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