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Heterotopic/Piggyback-Heart-Transplant-Surgery A Successful rare operation by Dr Gokhale and Team

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As the number of heart transplants are increasing in the country, this was meant to be a just another mere case of heart transplant. After performing over 10,000 heart surgeries including coronary artery bypass surgeries, heart valve replacement/repairs, correction of birth defects of the heart, 23 heart transplantations, implantation of heart assist devices (VADs) and lung surgeries, 3 lung transplantations and vascular surgeries, it was mandate for Dr. Gokhale to perform a heart replacement in Apollo Hospital, jubilee hills to lease a new life to the 56-year-old man who was dying from a heart failure. A donor heart was arriving from Karimnagar after its owner, 17-year-old Mekala Naveen Kumar, was declared brain-dead on Friday.

Cardio-thoracic surgeon A. Gopala Krishna Gokhale and his team knew that they had to attempt a radical procedure to save the life of the 56-year-old man. “The donor heart was of normal fist-size. The recipient’s heart was the size of a small football”.  Quoting this, Cardio-thoracic surgeon A. Gopala Krishna Gokhale understood that this was not just another case of a normal heart transplant. The 17-year-old brain dead donor’s heart was a major mismatch due to age. The patient’s lung blood pressure had shot up four times above normal level while the aortic systole pressure had gone down. Time had run out.

Dr A.G. Krishna Gokhale and his team, decided to perform something which has happened only twice in India and first time in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The procedure, colloquially referred to as “Piggyback Heart Transplant”. In this procedure the old heart continues to beat in the middle-aged man and the new heart will complement the old one by allowing it to pump blood properly into the body. This procedure is called heterotopic or piggyback heart transplant.



Dr.Gokhale explaining why he had to take up this procedure “The man was in the end-stage of heart disease. The blood pressure dipped drastically, lung pressure was uncontrollably high and his condition continued to deteriorate. This was the last resort to save him.”

Some part of the patient heart’s pericardium was cut by the doctors to place the donors heart between the right lung and the original heart in a procedure that lasted seven hours. “Two hearts in the patient complement each other to facilitate circulation, but beat at different rates. It is once-in-a-lifetime procedure a doctor performs. Patient’s blood pressures are close to normal and he is stable. But there will be other issues in future,” Dr. Gokhale said.

The news has spread viral and covered by almost all newspapers.

1.       Local Coverage

2.       National Coverage

3.       International Coverage