Did You Know That India’s First Paediatric Heart Transplant Was Performed On A Russian Baby In Chennai?

Here is how Indian doctors successfully performed India’s first paediatric heart transplant on a two-year-old Russian baby. Know all about the medical achievement that made Russian doctors give up on the baby and German doctors cringe in fear!

India marked yet another medical success after doctors in Chennai performed a successful “India’s first” paediatric heart transplant on a two-year-nine-months-old Russian baby boy on December 19, 2014. This achievement not only saved a precious life but has also gave new hope to many more children who are suffering from heart diseases in the country.

The transplanted heart belonged to a two-year-old boy, Yatarth, who was declared brain dead by doctors at Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru.

When Yatarth’s parents agreed to donate his heart, it was harvested and airlifted from Bengaluru to Chennai using the inter-state green corridor within 47 minutes.

Baby Gleb with his mother Neli and the team of docto

Baby Gleb with his mother Nelli and the team of doctors

Photo: www.bellevision.com

When young Gleb Kudriavtceva from Moscow arrived in India, his condition was critical. He was suffering from Restrictive Cardio Myopathy, a condition where the heart loses its capacity to relax with each beat affecting the pumping of blood. Paediatric transplants have always been difficult but this case was even more risky as the child was too weak to withstand anaesthesia. He also had chances of right ventricular dysfunction after transplant due to his condition of severe pulmonary artery hypertension.

After the surgery, as expected, Gleb developed right ventricular dysfunction which was efficiently managed by the doctors through medication. Gleb’s right vertical has now completely recovered.

The prompt action and quick arrangement of the heart helped to quicken the process. Gleb was listed on the transplant list at both the state level and the regional level so that he could get a suitable heart at the earliest.

The eight-hour-long complex surgery at Fortis Malar, a private hospital in Chennai, was efficiently performed by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, director of Cardiac Sciences and Dr. Suresh Rao, Head of Department, Critical Care and Cardiac Anaesthesia at the hospital.

Dr K R Balakrishnan

Dr K R Balakrishnan

Dr. Suresh Rao

Dr. Suresh Rao

Photo Courtesy: www.fortishealthcare.com

“The surgery was technically difficult and challenging as the recipient was a very small boy. We could not start with giving him anaesthesia to fix the heart in the chamber because the boy was too young and sick to withstand anaesthesia. After the surgery, within a six weeks the boy has had a weight gain of 3.5 kg and is recovering rapidly,” said Dr Rao explained to DNA.

When Gleb was six months old, his mother Nelli noticed an abnormality in his abdomen and consulted a doctor in Russia, who then informed her about his condition. Doctors had given a verdict that the chances of Gleb’s survival were very less.

But she didn’t give up. Nelli looked for financial help from family and friends in Russia and after collecting enough funds she took Gleb to doctors in Germany who refused to treat Gleb due to high lung pressure as the pumping of blood was affected due to his condition.

India came as another choice to Nelli due to the affordable cost of treatment here. She did not waste another minute and came to India where her son’s heart has started beating steadily now.


Photo for representation purpose only. Courtesy: www.newcastle-hospitals.org.uk

“Until I came to India, I did not believe in miracles. But now I am extremely grateful to the doctors at Fortis Malar Hospital. After a long struggle I am finally going to go back to Russia with my son and reunite with my daughter and the rest of the family. This is the biggest gift god has given me this New Year,” Nelli told Bellevision.

Gleb who weighed only 7 kgs when he was brought into the country is showing signs of a fast recovery and already weighs 10.5 kgs. The new heart took around 10 days to adjust and is working fine now.

Apart from the recent success, Dr. Balakrishnan has been responsible for many such path-breaking surgeries including India’s first successful HVAD implant in 2013 and India’s first successful LVAD implant surgery as destination therapy in 2012.

This success, which doctors claim to be India’s first, sure comes as good news and we hope to see many more similar success stories in the future. Congratulations to the team who made it possible and good luck to the young heart.

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