Indian heart beats inside Pakistani woman: 19-year-old from Karachi undergoes heart transplant in Chennai

On January 31, a heart was airlifted from Delhi to Chennai, paving the way for Ayesha Rashid's life-saving surgery


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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Fri 26 Apr 2024, 5:35 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Apr 2024, 10:49 PM

A 19-year-old patient from Karachi in Pakistan, Ayesha Rashid, underwent a successful heart transplant in Chennai, India.

Ayesha had experienced a cardiac arrest in Karachi in 2019 due to a pre-existing heart condition. Seeking specialised treatment, she travelled to Chennai for medical evaluation. However, her health complications persisted, prompting her return to Chennai in June 2023.

Despite her determination to receive treatment, Ayesha faced significant financial distress, adding to her emotional burden.

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Recognising her plight, Dr KR Balakrishnan, renowned Chief of Heart Transplant at MGM Healthcare in Chennai, stepped in to offer assistance. Through his collaboration with the Chennai-based healthcare trust, Aishwaryam, a ray of hope emerged for Ayesha.

On January 31, 2024, a heart was airlifted from Delhi to Chennai, paving the way for Ayesha's life-saving transplant surgery.

Dr KR Balakrishnan, chairman of the Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, reflected on Ayesha's journey, emphasising the financial challenges she faced.

"This child first came to us in 2019, soon after she came her heart stopped. We had to do CPR and put an artificial heart pump. With that she recovered and went back to Pakistan, then she became sick again, her heart failure worsened and she required repeated hospitalisation and in that country (Pakistan), it's not easy, because the equipment required is not there and they had no money," said Dr KR Balakrishnan, chairman of Institute of Heart and Lung transplant and Mechanical Circulatory support.

The doctor said the patient just had a single mother and was not doing well financially, so he himself, along with Aishwaryam trust and some other heart patients came forward to help the 19-year-old.

"We are the largest centre doing heart transplant. We are doing almost 100 per year. One of the biggest number in the world I would say. And if there are no Indians then, it will be allotted to a foreigner. In this situation, this girl was waiting for almost 10 months. Luckily, she got the heart," said Dr Suresh Rao, Co-director at the Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support.

Aspires to be a fashion designer

Expressing her gratitude, Ayesha Rashid, who aspires to be a fashion designer in future thanked the Indian government and her doctors, expressing her desire to return to India in the future.

"I'm very happy that I got transplant, I thank the Indian government. I'll definitely come back to India one day again. I thank the doctors also for the treatment," said Ayesha Rashid, patient who got heart transplanted in Chennai.

Ayesha's mother, Sanober, shared her emotional journey, recounting the challenges they faced and the lifeline extended by Dr. Balakrishnan and the medical team in Chennai. She expressed her joy at her daughter's successful transplant in India.

"I am very happy for the transplant for my daughter. The girl was 12 years old that time she got a cardiac arrest and then underwent cardio empathy. Later on, the doctors informed that heart transplant was only solution to keep her alive. Then we came to know that there is no transplant facilities in Pakistan, so we approached Dr KR Balakrishnan for saving my daughter's life.

"I was financially unstable, but doctors gave confidence and they asked me to make arrangements for travelling to India. I came to India without money, Dr. Balakrishnan only helped me in all the ways. I'm very happy for the transplant, I'm also happy that an Indian Heart is beating inside a Pakistan girl. I thought it is never possible but it has happened," said Ayesh Rashid's mother Sanober.


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