AIIMS conducts first lung transplant

DN Bureau

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AIIMS conducts first lung transplant (File Photo)
AIIMS conducts first lung transplant (File Photo)

New Delhi: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here performed its first lung transplant surgery on a patient in her 30s who was surviving on Oxygen and Bi-PAP support for over 2 years.

According to the doctors, the patient has well received the procedure and is currently kept in the ICU under the observation of specialists from the critical care and pulmonary department. The rare surgery was conducted two days ago on the patient who suffered from cystic bronchiectasis, a progressive, irreversible condition of the airways of the lungs. So far, only three cases of lung transplants have been reported in Delhi NCR.

AIIMS New Delhi has become the second public hospital to do this surgery after the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh On Monday, Dr Anant Mohan, Head, Department of Department of Pulmonary, Critical care and Sleep Medicine said the transplant procedure was quite complex. "It took a battery of doctors from multiple specialities and gruelling 12 hours of operation to be conducted," he added.

The surgery was performed by a joint team of cardiothoracic and thoracic surgeons. However, the whole process, starting from pre-op recipient evaluation and preparation, surgery, and post-op observation required doctors from multiple departments. "While it (surgery) was initiated by the Department of Pulmonary, Critical care and Sleep Medicine, doctors, experts from cardiothoracic vascular surgery, and Thoracic surgery, cardiac-anaesthesia and intensive care, Cardiology etc worked in close collaboration," according to the official.

While the surgery was successful, Mohan said the patient will require a little time to adjust to the new pair of organs. He also informed that delicate care is required post-transplant operation. "The patient's body needs time to adjust to the transplanted organ. Sometimes, it takes months and extreme care is needed in such cases with injections and pills," Mohan said.

The lung transplant involves removing either of the patient's diseased lungs and replacing them with a healthy lung of a brain-stem dead donor. It is reserved for people with chronic end-stage lung diseases which continue to worsen despite having tried other medications or treatments. These diseases include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder which is commonly found in smokers, and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis among others.

However, lung transplants remain a rare surgery to date due to various reasons. The AIIMS patient was on the waitlist for over a year. Doctors cite multiple reasons such as the shortage of healthy non-smoking donors in the country and those whose lungs do not get significantly damaged during the deadly accidents. (Ashish Srivastava’s report for UNI)

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