Dr. Bhagyashree P Patil Ma’am with the patient.

Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre in Pune’s Pimpri-Chinchwad has performed a successful simultaneous heart-lung transplant on a woman suffering from a rare lung disease – lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) – along with severe pulmonary hypertension. This disease causes a gradual loss of lung function.

At a press conference held in Pune Tuesday, Dr PD Patil, chancellor of Dr DY Patil Vidyapeeth, said: “It gives me immense pleasure to declare this complicated surgery as successful. It is historic since we are the first in Pune. The simultaneous heart-lung transplant has established our institute as a leader in organ transplantation.”

Prajakta Dugam, 37, a bank employee residing on Sinhagad Road, would go to work with an oxygen cylinder strapped to her body, as her lungs and heart started failing progressively over the last 11 years. LAM predominantly affects young women, and transplantation is often the only way out.

Dr Anurag Garg, Dr Ashish Dolas, Dr Ranjit Pawar, Dr Prabhat Dutta, Dr Vipul Sharma, and Dr Sandeep Junghare under the leadership of Dr Sandeep Attawar in a marathon eight-hour surgery on August 20 replaced Prajakta’s heart and lungs with the organs of a 27-year-old brain-dead woman. The patient was recently discharged.

Dr Sandeep Attawar, program director and chair, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplantation, KIMS, Hyderabad, said: “India is seeing a marked public awakening with respect to organ donations after brain death. Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan are the new growth engines of India’s north and west. The public sector and medical college hospitals donate the most. The need of the hour is private-public partnership and technology transfer in this field. A thrust in this direction has a multiplier effect as educational centres will be able to skill themselves and cost-effective transplantations that are affordable will become commonplace. India is waking up to brain-death organ donation.”


Patient Prajakta Dugam

Dr Anurag Garg, head of the cardiac surgery department, Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, said: “Establishing a transplant program is always a major challenge. The team had to create protocols, ensure availability of all consumables, train ourselves and be ready in all aspects before admitting Prajakta. The eight-hour surgery itself required the heart-lung machine, intra-aortic balloon pump, nitric oxide, and Bi-PAP support. The team has worked non-stop in the post-operative period to ensure the success of Prajakta’s treatment and rehabilitation.”

Dr MS Barthwal, head of the respiratory medicine department, Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, stated: “Our primary task is to ensure Prajakta’s airways and lungs remain clear and infection-free, during the critical post-operative period. Over the past three weeks, we have carried out seven bronchoscopies and monitored her 24X7, to ensure her full recovery.”

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