Kerala’s first artificial heart implant performed in Kochi
Kerala’s first artificial heart implant was performed at a private hospital in Kochi on a 61-year-old woman. With very few deceased heart donors in the state, this is a crucial step to save lives. The left ventricular assist
The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a batteryoperated, mechanical pump, which when implanted in patients with heart failure, helps the bottom left chamber of heart (left ventricle) to pump blood to the body. LVAD implantation is a complex and rare procedure and there are only a few hospitals in India performing it at the moment.
The cardiothoracic surgical team at VPS Lakeshore Hospital implanted the artificial heart in the female patient, who had been under treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy for the past six years. She was admitted to the hospital with cardiogenic shock, breathing difficulty and hypotension on September 13. The patient’s condition deteriorated with ongoing heart failure and renal failure. She had increased liver enzymes due to congested liver, and was under multiple supports to maintain the blood pressure. As her condition worsened, she was put on VA ECMO, three days after hospitalization. This ensured that her kidney and liver functions could be brought back to normal yet her cardiac function was just 10%, which was too low to wean off VA ECMO.
The only option to bring her back to life was a heart transplant but the waiting period for heart recipients in the state in recent times has been unpredictable. That is when they decided to implant an artificial heart.
“As organ donation is in a plateau phase in Kerala, the artificial heart implant is a boon in the present scenario as a bridge to transplant as well as destination therapy,” said Dr Sujith D S, cardiothoracic surgeon, VPS Lakeshore Hospital, Kochi, who led the surgery.
“We performed a 9-hourlong rare surgery that saved her life. Now, the patient is safe and sound, she has started taking food orally and is in recovery phase,” said cardiac anaesthesiologist Dr M S Nebhu.
The device implanted on her is HeartMate 2 (second generation ventricular assist device) and the LVAD costs between Rs 45 lakh and Rs 90 lakh in India. However, the patient’s family didn’t want to disclose the cost. The patients also have to charge the battery every 18hrs. As per doctors, the patient can live an improved, long and near normal life. Life expectancy with LVAD is more than 12 years now.