Emirati brothers healthy, happy after heart transplant surgery in India

Emirati brothers healthy, happy after heart transplant surgery in India
Dr. Attawar Sandeep with Hamad and Mohamed

Dubai - Hamad was airlifted to Chennai in a critical state following a 'shock liver' diagnosis

Emirati siblings Hamad Sultan Khamis Khalfan Al Yahyaee, 18, and his younger brother Mohammed were diagnosed with an extreme condition of left ventricular failure, which prevented the heart from pumping enough blood to the body. Their family had earlier lost a child to heart failure.
Luckily, the prayers of their family were answered and both the brothers were referred to a hospital in Chennai, India, where they found two Indian donors and underwent cadaver heart transplants.
Hamad and Mohammed's family couldn't thank the Almighty more, not to mention the families of the two Indian heart donors, for bringing happiness back to their home.
The two siblings were referred to Gleneagles Global Health City hospital in Chennai after they were diagnosed with the condition. Hamad was airlifted to Chennai in a critical state following a 'shock liver' (acute liver injury caused by shortage in blood and oxygen supply).
The first challenge was to bring Hamad to a stable condition before preparing him for the transplant, remembers Dr Attawar Sandeep, programme director and chair of cardiac surgery and heart and lung transplantation at Gleneagles.
Dr Attawar and his team sprang into action managing the complex processes involved. Meanwhile, Mohammed was also referred to the same hospital after being diagnosed with the same heart condition as his elder brother.
The elder brother needed an immediate transplant due to his serious condition, and the younger sibling required paediatric donor given his body size.
As per Indian laws, citizens get priority over international patients for organ transplant. It is only when there is no domestic recipient, the organ offer passes over to an international recipient and that too based on wait list, seniority and severity of the disease. The wait could sometimes last for a fortnight, or even a couple of months.
"Things worked out in Hamad and Mohammed's favour and we were able to do successful transplants on both of them, thanks to two Indian donors," Dr Attawar said.
The transplant and recovery generally lasts for three weeks. The surgery itself takes 5-7 hours and the patient is advised to stay back in the country for at least 12 weeks after discharge for surveillance and monitoring.
The two brothers were lucky to find donors who were roughly of the same body weight as them. Hamad's transplant was done within four and a half hours, while Mohammed's transplant was done in under four hours.
"Rigorous and intense post-surgery follow up is an integral part of the transplant process. It could be broken down in parts, like immune suppression dose monitoring biopsies to monitor rejection, rehabilitation and exercise, physiotherapy, dietary modification, and education of patient care givers and families," Dr Attawar explained.
The hospital also ensures follow-up care of patients in the long term by collaborating with the respective referring physicians. A support group for patients requiring organ transplant and continued information to handle lives post-transplant are also part of the Gleneagles care.
"We are receiving a growing number of patients from the UAE and Oman, which has naturally brought us in contact with a number of hospitals, physicians and health systems in these countries," said Renu Malik Vij, associate vice-president for international business and corporate sales at Gleneagles Global Hospitals.
Proximity and cost also play a part in attracting GCC patients to the hospital. The hospital adopts best standards and practices in critical care and the total cost of a transplant is often $60,000-$75,000, much less compared to major US or European hospitals.
Hamad and Mohammed are both making a good recovery in India and will be returning to Abu Dhabi in the next few days.
Dr Attawar and his team has a collective experience of treating over 10,000 patients - including new-borns and children with a variety of complicated heart problems. Under his leadership, the hospital has performed over 50 heart transplants as well as Lung transplant & LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) insertion on young child and adults with exceptional outcomes that match international standards.
The Gleneagles team also collaborates with the heart and lung transplant team of the University of Texas South Western Medical Centre in Dallas, one of the top five transplant centres in America. Outcomes of transplant procedures are reported to ISHLT (International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation) registry to validate the level of care given.

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