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Artificial Heart Technology (ECMO) Aided Heart Transplant On A 38-Year Old Woman From Delhi

  • Airlifted from Delhi to Chennai for heart transplantation
  • Patient was in severe heart failure and went into severe cardio vascular collapse.
  • Resuscitated by artificial heart technology (ECMO) while waiting for transplant which improved the condition of the multiple organ failure


Fortis Malar Hospital announced successful heart transplant surgery with the use of an artificial heart pump or ECMO to resuscitate the patient while waiting for a donor. The procedure saved the life of 38 year old Ms. Monika Rustagi who was suffering from severe heart failure. As her health was in a critical state, the young woman had to be airlifted from her hometown Delhi and brought to the Chennai based multi-specialty hospital for the heart transplant.

The team who performed the surgery was led by Dr. K.R. Balakrishnan, Director Cardiac Sciences, Dr. Ravikumar, Dr. Suresh rao K G, Dr. N.K. Kapadia and Dr. SK Chowdhary.  The successful use of Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) as a bridge to a transplant is extremely uncommon in India since not too many centres in India have the expertise and equipment. The patient responded well to the transplant and can now return to Delhi.

While on vacation at Mussoorie, Ms. Rustogi began experiencing breathing difficulty while ascending the hills. The problem persisted when she returned to her home in Delhi. Doctors at a hospital in Delhi discovered that she was suffering from severe heart failure with a heart pumping potential of 25%. Unfortunately none of the initial treatment methods had much impact on her health. Her health was progressively worsening and survival became an issue of grave concern.  The family of the patient was on the lookout for guidance on heart transplants. On the recommendation of a doctor, the family sought the expertise of the Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiology department of Fortis Malar Hospital.

She was put on the waiting list for a heart. Unfortunately during the waiting period her condition continued to deteriorate, nearly reaching a terminal stage of multiple organ failure with a severe fall in Blood Pressure, lack of urine output, severe breathlessness requiring ventilator support. She was immediately put on ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) to stabilize and act as a bridge to Heart Transplant.  Subsequently the patient’s body resumed making urine, her blood pressure improved, lungs and kidney functions also improved. After 48 hours, the hospital received news of the availability of a donor heart. After harvesting the heart from the donor, the surgeons transplanted the new heart into her chest.

Commenting on the case, Dr. K.R. Balakirshnan said “The use of artificial heart technology in patients awaiting heart transplant will improve outcomes dramatically as these very sick patient can now be operated after their condition is stabilized”.

The post-operative recovery was very smooth and rapid. She is now walking, eating and off all the heart supporting medicine and Oxygen. She will have excellent quality of future life but she will have to continue taking drugs preventing rejection of the new heart.

About Fortis Malar Hospitals Ltd (erstwhile Malar Hospitals Ltd)

Fortis Malar Hospitals Ltd is established as one of the largest corporate hospitals in Chennai providing quality super specialty health care services. Fortis Malar Hospitals, with 180 beds, focuses on providing comprehensive medical care in the areas of cardiology and cardiac surgery, Neuro Surgery, gynaecology, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, neurology, pediatrics, diabetics, nephrology and Urology. All health care needs are delivered here by the best of doctors.

Fortis Malar Hospitals also has a state of the art Cath Lab and multiple dedicated cardiac operation theatres and intensive coronary care units. Several rare and complex Adult and Pediatric Cardiac surgeries, Orthopedics and Joint replacement, Neurosurgery and Plastic & reconstruction surgeries have been performed in this hospital. The hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology services are among the busiest in the city, performing many difficult deliveries and surgeries successfully, and are supported by a dedicated Neonatology unit. Fortis Malar Hospitals is a part of the Fortis Health care Network which is currently the largest hospital network in Asia Pacific with 74 hospitals and 12,000 beds.