Despite borrowed heart, a 56-yr-old beats back COVID

The Covid-19 microbe has exacted a macroscopic toll over the last nine months and continues its grim march, but there are also the awe-inspiring 'warriors' who grappled with it despite the odds heavily weighed against them and lived to tell the tale. The latest such story is that of a 56-year-old Kandivli resident, who made a miraculous recovery in just 10 days of hospitalisation, despite suffering from multi-organ failure and having undergone a heart transplant in 2018. Doctors at Global Hospital are calling it a miracle and saying the patient was indeed lucky to have made it. They are planning to document this as a rare case study in a medical journal.

Dr Prashant Borade, head of the critical care unit, Global Hospital, said the patient, Mahadev Hari Patel, was diagnosed with chronic heart ailment and had undergone a heart transplant two years ago. Last month, he suddenly became breathless and his son attributed it to post-transplant complications. His family then took him to the nearest nursing home, where he tested Covid-19 positive and was found to have developed acute pneumonia.

“Hari was brought to the hospital on September 17 and we decided to do a CT scan, which revealed fluid in his lungs, due to which his transplanted heart was affected. His oxygen saturation levels dropped below 60 per cent and we had to put him on ventilator,” Dr Borade said.

Hari’s complications did not end there. While being admitted to the hospital, his condition started to deteriorate, as he suffered a stroke and kidney failure. The seizure affected his brain too. So now, he was corona-positive and had suffered multiple organ failure.

Doctors try to fight the virus by helping bolster the patient's immunity. But when an organ transplant recipient's immunity is strengthened, their body begins to reject the transplanted organ, mistaking it as a foreign invader. So, transplant recipient patients are put on immunosuppressants— medication that lowers their immunity and this makes the treatment of such Covid patients most challenging.

Dr Borade said, despite Hari's multiple organ failure, the main challenge for them was to treat the corona infection by keeping his immunity low so that his body didn’t reject the transplanted heart.

“Immunosuppressants are important for transplant patients, as they help the body accept a foreign organ by preventing the immune system from rejecting it. So, we had to find a balance between keeping his immunity low and treating Covid-19 in one who had already developed acute pneumonia,” he explained.

But miracles do happen in the direst of situations and so it did in this case. After eight days on ventilator, Hari survived Covid-19 with multiple organ failure. He was discharged from the hospital on September 24.

Now, the medicos want to share this miraculous survival saga with their fraternity. “We are planning to publish it in a journal, as we believe it is a rarest of rare incident, where a heart transplant patient with Covid-19 survived after multiple organ failures,” Dr Borade said.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal