A team of doctors comprising pediatric liver transplant, heart transplant and renal transplant from Narayana Health City Bangalore came together to spread awareness on the importance of organ donation and organ transplants on the occasion of World organ donation day observed on 13th August 2015. Along with them were transplant survivors who have undergone heart, liver and kidney transplants at Narayana Health City.
The first organ transplant at the hospital was in 2005, which was a pediatric liver transplant. Of all the surgeries that are done on children, liver transplant is perhaps the most difficult. According to Dr. Sanjay Rao, Consultant Pediatric Surgeon at Narayana Health City, “Children form a very special group in liver transplantation. Every function in the body is affected when a child has liver disease and the blood doesn’t clot. Post operative care is a major challenge”. The liver is a unique organ as it has the capacity to regenerate. This does not exist for any other solid organ donation. Speaking about donors Dr. Sanjay said, “Cadaveric donations are few, a live donor is therefore the option from the immediate family members and the liver has to be cut down to size, which is also very complex.” The liver grows with the child. For a live donor the liver grows back in a matter of 6 to 8 weeks.
Dr. Sanjay Rao and Dr. Ashley D’cruz, Pediatric Surgeons at Narayana Health City have performed 58 pediatric liver transplants till date, which includes 4 cadaveric liver transplants. “We are the only hospital in India to have a dedicated pediatric liver transplant program”, informed Dr. Sanjay Rao. “More than half the children who undergo liver transplantation have congenital Biliary Atresia”, he said.
Recently, in the span of two weeks Narayana Health City performed 4 heart transplants and has seen an increase in the number of cadaveric organ donation. Time is very crucial in heart transplants and the Bangalore City traffic police gave their full support in arranging a green corridor to transport the organs of the brain dead donor to the recipients admitted in various hospitals. The first heart transplant at Narayana Health City, Bangalore was performed in 2009 and the team of cardiac surgeons comprising Dr. Julius Punnen and Dr. P V Rao has performed 13 heart transplants till date.
Speaking about the process to register for organ donation or pledge their organs, Dr. Bagirath Raghuraman, Consultant Cardiologist and Transplant Coordinator at Narayana Health City explained that there is a form every potential donor fills out, which includes the number of people whom the Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Organ Transplants (ZCCK) can contact and the person responsible who will inform ZCCK on the demise of the potential donor. One has an option of donating all organs or makes a choice of donating only certain organs, which is the donor’s prerogative.
One cadaveric donor can donate eyes, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, skin, bone, intestine and hair as well. Many people can benefit by a cadaveric donation. In case of live donor, only one organ can be donated but it is still beneficial. However, cadaveric donation is much more beneficial to more number of people. Cadaveric donation will allow much more transplants.
The first kidney transplant at Narayana Health City was done in 2008. The hospital has performed 206 kidney transplants till date and six cadaveric kidney transplants, in which the number of women donors is more among living donors for kidney transplant. 2013-14 has seen an increase in the number of organ donors, because of cadaveric transplant and organ retrievals are much more observed Dr. Lloyd Vincent, HoD and Consultant Nephrologist at Narayana Health City. Speaking about donor criteria, Dr. Vincent said, “A living donor should be fit and healthy to donate a kidney, so that he or she can lead a normal life even after donating a kidney. In cadaveric organ donation both the kidneys are available and if kidney function is good, the kidney can go to two different people”.
According to Mr. Joseph Pasangha, Facility Director, Narayana Health City, Bangalore, “The awareness about organ donation is increasing and we have seen more number of people donating their organs”. He further added, “Our hospital is the recognized centre for organ transplants and we perform heart, kidney and liver transplants at Narayana Health City. This needs a dedicated transplant team of surgeons and coordinators with exclusive post-operative facilities and stand alone ICU for transplant patients, which is there at Narayana Health City.”
There are myths and there is lack of awareness among people about organ donation, because of which a whole segment of population does not donate. Infrastructure has now improved and there is dramatic improvement in organ donation compared to last year. Hospitals are noticing a dramatic change in organ availability.