Heart Travels from Delhi to Chennai, Longest Distance Haul in India


Heart of a deceased civilian in the Indian Airforce in Delhi was flown to Chennai to save life of an old man who was awaiting a suitable heart for transplantation. It is the longest haul of donated tissue in India, covering a distance of more than 2,000 kilometres, which has an average flying time 2 hours and 40 minutes. A donated heart has to be implanted into the recipient within four hours of its retrieval; hence government and private entities came forward to support this noble cause.heart-for-transplantation

The transplant co-ordination team at Gleneagles Global Health City received an alert about the availability of a suitable donor in Delhi, from the TRANSTAN, the apex body that governs Organ transplantations in Tamil Nadu. The R & R Army hospital, took up the responsibility of ‘harvesting’ the organ and rushing it to the Indira Gandhi – International Airport in New Delhi, with the support of the Delhi Traffic Police, who created a ‘green-corridor’ for the smooth transit of the organ from the hospital. The organ was taken aboard a Jet Airways flight, which took-off at 4:12 pm from Delhi. The aircraft landed safely at the Chennai International airport at 6:50 pm, from where the Chennai City Traffic Police took over the responsibility of safely getting the heart, within 36 minutes by 7:26 pm, to the Gleneagles Global Health City at Perumbakkam. Dr Sandeep Attawar, Director and Chair of Heart Failure and Transplant Program, Gleneagles Global Hospitals Group and his team of doctors successfully implanted the donated heart in a patient who was ailing with end-stage heart failure.

Dr. Sandeep Attawar, Director and Chair of Heart Failure and Transplant, Gleneagles Global Hospitals said, “We were informed about a heart that was available for Transplant by TRANSTAN this afternoon about 1:15 pm at R&R Army Hospital in Delhi.  Since we needed a heart for a patient at Gleneagles Global Health City we responded and embarked on something that was never tried in India before. There was a very short window of opportunity to get the heart safely from Delhi to Chennai within the 6 hour window. The doctors at the army hospital were kind enough to harvest the organ and ensure all necessary parameters to transport the organ safely were taken. The DGCA and airport authority in Delhi as well as Chennai played a monumental role in helping the heart reach us safely. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brigadier Sood of R&R Army Hospitals, the Chennai police, the various other private and government agencies that have helped us save our patient’s life.”

Transporting an organ for this far a distance, requires meticulous planning and innumerable clearances from several Government and private bodies, which include District Collectorates, Police departments, Fire and Rescue departments, Revenue Departments, PWD departments and the Aviation department. This mammoth task has been accomplished by the careful ground work and perseverance of the transplant co-ordination team of Gleneagles Global Health City, the R & R Army Hospital, Delhi, TRANTAN, the Delhi Traffic Police and the Chennai City Traffic Police. A feat which is this is nothing short of a social revolution indeed.

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