Bangalore, September 24, 2019: Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru’s trusted quaternary care multi-specialty hospital, has successfully carried out a heart transplant on a patient suffering from advanced Heart Failure, after supporting her failing heart using an artificial heart support machine called Bi – VAD for a record 155 days. This is the longest – ever duration that a patient in India has been supported on a Bi – VAD machine prior to a successful heart transplantation. This feat was performed by the ‘Heart Team’ at Vikram Hospital.
Asha (name changed), then 42 years old, visited Vikram Hospital in 2017 for fainting spells. Tests revealed a slightly weakened heart with reduced pumping function. In addition, she had a dangerous, intermittent heart rhythm irregularity called Ventricular Tachycardia which was causing the fainting spells.
Commenting on the case, Dr. P Ranganath Nayak, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director, Vikram Hospital, said, “The case was challenging from the beginning. We had this young, apparently healthy lady who came to us with a slightly weakened heart function and potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities, which in medical terms is known as ‘Ventricular Tachycardia’. The patient was put on appropriate medications for her heart dysfunction and rhythm problems, and an Automated Implantable Cardioverter – Defibrillator (AICD) was implanted. After detailed investigations, she was diagnosed with an uncommon disease called ‘Sarcoidosis’ with involvement of the heart in the disease process.”
Asha’s health continued to deteriorate despite the state – of – the – art measures taken for her heart failure and her underlying Sarcoidosis. Within a few months, she was unable to carry out even routine activities without significant discomfort, and was suffering multiple recurrences of Ventricular Tachycardia, in spite of maximum medical treatment.
Dr. P Padmakumar, Consultant Cardiologist, Vikram Hospital, said “Though Asha responded well initially to treatment, things took a rapid downhill course. Within a few months, she developed refractory heart failure. Our priority was to save the life of the patient. A heart transplant was the best option for Asha.”
By February 2019, Asha had become very sick, and was put on an artificial heart support to keep her alive while a suitable heart was available for transplantation.
Dr. Narendra V, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, Vikram Hospital, said, “Since both the right and left pumping chambers of her heart were severely weak, a special device called ‘Bi – VAD’ was used to support the heart. Typically, this machine is used for a few days to weeks till a donor heart becomes available and a heart transplant operation can be performed. However, Asha spent an astounding 155 days on the Bi – VAD machine waiting for a heart transplant. This is the longest period anyone in India has spent on ‘Bi – VAD’ support and gone on to have a successful heart transplant. We faced many challenges along the way but with the dedication and support of the entire Heart Team, we successfully overcame them. Asha is now back home with her family and is doing well.”
Dr. P Padmakumar, Consultant Cardiologist, Vikram Hospital, said, “Though Asha had heart problems due to an uncommon cause, Heart Failure, as a disease, is extremely common. Heart Failure affects as many as 1 – 2% of the population in many countries, and significantly impairs the quality of life and shortens one’s lifespan. Heart Failure encompasses a wide spectrum – from patients with no symptoms to those who are house – bound because of the disease. Advanced Heart Failure is rapidly fatal.”
Dr. Girish Godbole, Consultant Cardiologist, Vikram Hospital, said, “Heart Failure can be prevented to a large extent and, if detected in the early stages, can be managed efficiently with lifestyle changes and medications. Advanced Heart Failure management, however, requires a highly motivated, dedicated and expert “Heart Team” capable of handling advanced interventions, including implantation of special types of pacemakers (called CRT – P and CRT – D), AICDs, Ventricular – Assist Devices (VADs), and heart transplantation. A dedicated ‘Heart Failure Clinic’ addresses all the needs a Heart Failure patient and provides a convenient one – stop solution”
Dr. Somesh Mittal, MD & CEO, Vikram Hospital, said, “Though our doctors were successful in saving Asha’s life, there are many more difficult cases that come to Vikram Hospital on a regular basis. There is a need for a dedicated, specialized unit comprised of experts that focuses on improving outcomes for patients at all stages of heart failure. We are proud to announce our new ‘Heart Failure Clinic @ Vikram’. With this initiative, Vikram Hospital will serve its Heart Failure patients even better.”
The “Heart Failure Clinic @ Vikram” was inaugurated by Dr Ragavendra Baliga MD, MBA, FACP, FRCP, FACC, Inaugural Director, Cardio-Oncology Center of Excellence, Professor of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Addressing the media, he said, “I am glad to be part of the Heart Failure Clinic initiative at Vikram Hospital. I really appreciate the efforts of Vikram Hospital in making the best of the treatment options available to heart failure patients”.