ISLAMABAD: The first heart transplant in the history of Pakistan will be carried out at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), Rawalpindi, next month.
It is learnt that the surgery will be performed by a team of surgeons headed by Major General Azhar Mahmood Kiyani, the AFIC commandant and head of the National Institute of Heart Diseases (NIHD).
All arrangements for the first heart transplant surgery, which will take around 2:30 hours, have been completed. The success ratio of heart transplant is 90 per cent while 70 to 80 per cent of the patients can survive for at least another 10 years after undergoing heart transplant.
The heart transplant surgery costs Rs10 million in Britain while it will be possible at the AFIC at the cost of just Rs0.8 million to Rs1 million.
At the AFIC, not only arrangements have been made for heart transplant but the training of the anaesthetists and pathologists is even better than the set standard. The matching of the blood groups of the donor and beneficiary will be necessary while a comparative genetic study on the two will also be conducted.
The first heart transplant was carried out by Christian Barnard in South Africa in 1967. He had transplanted the heart of a road accident victim into a 59-year-old man, called Louis Washkansky, in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital.
Washkansky died 18 days later after contracting pneumonia. The powerful drugs he was taking to stop his body from rejecting the heart had reduced his ability to fight off the infection.
Gordon MacDonald underwent surgery in 1979. It was the first heart transplant in the UK, which was carried out at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and was a success. The operation was carried out by Sir Terrence English.
He had spent most of the 1970s in the United States, where he developed the skills needed to carry out such a complex procedure. On his return to Britain, Sir Terrence faced some opposition to his plans to carry out heart transplants.
Sir Terrence and his colleagues went on to achieve even greater things. In 1984, they carried out Europe’s first successful heart-lung transplant. The following year, they performed the world’s first heart, lung and liver transplant. Sixteen years ago, they carried out the world’s first operation to give a man a “bionic” heart — a battery-operated heart known as a ventricular assist device.
Until June 18, 2004, there have been 4,792 heart transplants in the UK and around 300 heart transplants were carried out in the country each year.
In Saudi Arabia, the heart transplant surgeries are performed in King Faisal Specialist Hospital since 1986, while the heart transplant surgeries started in India and Iran in 1993 and 1995, respectively.