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Yashoda Hospitals perform first lung transplant in AP

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Yashoda Hospitals performed the first successful lung transplantation in Andhra Pradesh (AP) on Archana Shedge, a 34-year-old from Pune, on September 8, 2012 taking the medical facilities in AP. one step forward. The lung transplantation was performed by a team of cardiothoracic surgeons headed by Dr A G K Gokhale, chief cardiothoracic, transplant and minimal access surgeon and Dr G Subramanyam, senior consultant anaesthetist.

Yashoda Hospitals is one of two centres in India where world class facilities for both lung and heart transplantations are available under one roof. The team used the ventricular assist device for the first time in Andhra Pradesh in July 2012 saving a patient’s life. Incidentally Dr A G K Gokhale also performed the first successful heart transplant in Andhra Pradesh in 2004 and is one of the two surgeons in India to performed heart and lung transplants successfully so far.

For the last two years, Archana had been suffering from a lung condition called interstitial fibrosis, where lungs become stiff and oxygen does not go into the blood through the lungs. She was bedridden and was living on external supply of oxygen even at rest.  On the advice of her doctor from the Bombay hospital, Mumbai Archana was referred to lung transplantation, the only option left as both her lungs were damaged.

Finally they were referred to Dr Gokhale from the Yashoda Hospitals for this surgery about two months ago. Archana was evaluated for lung transplantation by Dr Gokhale and Dr Gangadhar Reddy, pulmonologist, and kept on waiting list for a lung donor. Dr. Gokhale informed, “The patient was evaluated thoroughly when she visited us, we also had a tele-video discussions with lung transplant team at DeBakey Heart and Lung center, Houston, Texas for further suggestions. Once it was confirmed that there was no other option to save the patient, we kept her on a lung recipient waiting list.”

Lung belonging to a patient from another hospital in Hyderabad, who was declared brain dead from bleeding inside the brain, was used for lung transplantation in Archana  “Once the donor’s lungs were evaluated by the entire surgical and supportive team, approximately 30 people, including anaesthetists, perfusionists, physician assistants and nurses, and the administrative team headed by D D Surender Rao were called for an emergency meeting, as successful organ transplantation needs perfect planning and implementation. After a almost two hour of exhaustive drill, the whole team was ready,” Dr Gokhale added.

Dr Gokhale and his team removed the lungs from the donor and performed the lengthy 14-hour surgery successfully, transplanting the right lung in Archana and later she was brought back to the post-operative ICU.

Dr Gokhale informed,“Those 14 hours were the most stressful for the entire
team including the administrators. The entire team breathed a sigh of relief once the new lung started functioning and the patient was taken off ventilator after 24 hours.” Apart from Dr Gokhale, the surgical team included Dr Viswanath and Dr Dilip Ratti. The anaesthesia team included Dr Subramanyam, Dr Sudhakar, Dr Madhav and Dr Venu.

There are two lungs in the chest that purify blood by giving oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from blood. When lungs get damaged, patients find it difficult to perform regular activities and get breathless even while walking small distances. They cannot breathe without external supply of oxygen and become bedridden. For many of these patients, drugs do not help and the only option for them to live longer and have good quality of life is lung transplantation.