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Fortis Malar Performs India’s Youngest Paedetric Heart Transplant

Reflecting its commitment to saving and enriching lives beyond boundaries, the team of cardiac experts at Fortis Centre For Heart Failure & Transplant, Fortis Malar, Chennai led by Dr. K R Balakrishnan, Director Cardiac Sciences and Dr. Suresh Rao K G, HOD Critical Care & Cardiac Anaesthesia performed India’s first paediatric heart transplant on a two year nine months old boy, Gleb Kudriavtsev from Russia, not just giving him a new lease of life, but also showing a ray of hope to many more children suffering from end stage heart failure.

The complex procedure lasted for over 8 hrs, Weighing only 7 kgs, the boy from Moscow, Russia was suffering from restrictive cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart loses its capacity to relax with each beat, hence the blood pumping blood pumping is affected as a result his lung pressure was a very high. This left him with Heart transplant as the only solution. Help came from Bengaluru when the parents of a 2 year old boy, who was declared brain dead agreed to donate his organs. The heart was transported using an Inter-State Green Corridor that took 47 minutes, in all to travel, from Bangalore to Chennai.

Baby Gleb, was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy when he had just turned one. From being a healthy baby, his mom witnessed her little one go breathless and suffer from heart failure. Leaving no stones un-turned his mother Nelli Kudriavtceva approached families in Russia for monetary support for her baby’s treatment. After collecting enough funds, she travelled with her baby to Munich, Germany. To her misery, doctors in Germany confirmed the diagnosis but unfortunately refused to treat due to high lung presuure and she had to return to Russia.

With heart filled with hopes and undeterred mental strength Nelli contacted doctors and clinics in the US and India. With US turning out to be too expensive, India became the automatic choice for treatment. Nelli and her baby arrived at Fortis Centre for Heart Failure & Transplant at Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai.

On arrival, Gleb’s condition was quite critical, with an extremely low heart function and high levels of createnine, due to poor kidney function. He was immediately listed on the transplant list at both the state level and the regional level so that he could get a suitable heart at the earliest. During the wait for a heart his condition was deteriorating and he suffered a stroke, which he soon recovered from. After a wait of 1 and half months, on December 18th evening, the team at Fortis Malar hospital received an alert about a suitable heart being available at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore. Immediately, a team comprising of a cardio thoracic surgeon, paediatric interventional cardiologist, cardiac anaesthetist, perfusionist and intensivist left to Bangalore to evaluate the heart. Subsequent to which the heart was harvested, airlifted using a charter flight and brought to Fortis Malar Hospital at Chennai. The surgery was carried out successfully on 19th December, 2014. In view of high lung pressure, the new heart took about 10 days to adjust after which he recovered rapidly.

Advances in medicine have made heart transplants in India safer and a real option in managing cases of end stage heart failure. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of patient-centered care to many more patients, right here in India, utilizing our interdisciplinary approach, enormous talent and the multi-skilled resources within our team, said Dr. K.R. Balakrishnan, Director of Cardiac Sciences at Fortis Centre for Heart Failure and Transplant, Fortis Malar Hospital.

The surgery was technically difficult and challenging as the recipient was a very small boy. Starting from giving anaesthesia to fixing the heart in the chamber was a risky one because the boy was too young and sick to withstand anaesthesia The other major challenge, was that Baby Gleb had severe pulmonary artery hypertension, which would in turn lead to Right Ventricular dysfunction after transplant. As expected, Gleb developed Right Ventricular dysfunction post transplant, however we could efficiently manage it with nitric oxide and other medications. Today his right ventricle has recovered completely; he is already weighing 10.5kgs and recovering rapidly, said Dr. Suresh Rao K G, HOD Critical Care & Cardiac Anaesthesia, Fortis Malar Hospital.

Until I came to India, I did not believe in miracles but now I am extremely grateful to the doctors at Fortis Malar Hospital. After a long struggle I am finally going to go back to Russia with my son and reunite with my daughter and rest of the family. This is the biggest gift god has given me this New Year, said Nelli , Baby Gleb’s mother.