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Thirty-three-year-old Kashmiri woman receives heart from 18-year-old boy

Despite having little chance of survival, a 33-year-old Kashmiri woman, will return home with the heart of a Tamil teen.

The news: Shahzadi Fathima who hails from Srinagar was fortunate enough to receive the organ on time.

  • Fathima had been showing worsening signs of heart failure for the last six years. With a constant rise in problems, three years ago she was referred to R. Ravi Kumar, senior consultant and clinical lead, cardiology and heart failure programme at MGM Healthcare.
  • After her visit Fathima was given medications for swelling in her legs at the time, which helped. However, her restrictive cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the chambers of the heart stiffen over time, progressed and she developed severe heart failure.
  • “In November we received a call from the doctor asking us to come. They hoped to make some arrangement for transplant,” said Fathima’s brother Yunis, a daily wager.
  • With the help of Aishwarya Trust, a non-governmental organisation that finances cardiac surgeries and heart transplant for children, who raised the funds, the siblings took a train to Chennai.
  • Fathima was admitted to the hospital on December 31, with signs of severe heart failure. On January 26, doctors identified a suitable brain-dead donor in a hospital in Tiruchi.
  • “An 18-year-old boy lost his life in a road accident and his family was willing to donate his organs,” said K. Suresh Rao, co-director of the hospital’s Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support.
  • The heart was flown in and transplanted in Fathima.

How is she now: Her condition is improving and she would be discharged in a couple of weeks. MGM Healthcare provided the transplant at a subsidised cost. Typically, a heart transplant could cost Rs 25 lakh, doctors said.

  • K.R. Balakrishnan, who performed the surgery, said: “When she came, she couldn’t walk into her room. We waited three months (for the organ).” The donor had donated several organs of which the hospital used the heart and lungs. A resident of Besant Nagar received a donor lung, he said.
  • Fathima would have to visit the hospital six months later for a review.
  • She will receive supply of immunosuppressants and other medications when she leaves for Srinagar.
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