Man Surviving with Two Beating Hearts After Heart Surgery

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In a very surprising manner, a heart surgery which went on a 56-year-old ended up having an extra heart inside him to keep him alive. Now, the patient has two hearts beating inside him and the surgery was a success. This thing happened in Hyderabad after a Vijayawada man admitted in the Apollo Hospital of Jubilee Hills who is dying of heart failure and ended up being alive.

A donor heart was arriving from Karimnagar after its owner, 17-year-old Mekala Naveen Kumar, was declared brain-dead on Friday. Mandate was to attempt heart replacement, but when the donor heart arrived, cardio-thoracic surgeon A. Gopala Krishna Gokhale knew he had to attempt a radical procedure. Finding a matching donor heart from a cadaver is not easy.

According to the reports from The Hindu, “The donor heart was of normal fist-size. The recipient’s heart was the size of a small football,” the surgeon said, explaining that the donor’s heart was too small for the recipient. 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.

“Plan B” was to put the donor’s heart alongside the patient’s heart. The procedure, colloquially referred to as “Piggyback Heart Transplant”, does not require removal of the deceased heart. Only about 150 such procedures have ever been reported. The heart from a brain-dead person has to be restarted within four hours of its being stopped, according to Dr. Gokhale.

Doctors cut away some part of the patient heart’s pericardium, to facilitate placing the new heart. The donor’s heart was finally squeezed 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.

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