Heart transplant needs precision planning- Dr Richard Saldanha


Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital & Medical Research Centre, based in Belagavi, is again in the limelight to achieve a rare feat of back-to-back three-heart transplants in July 2022. It is a record performance in the state and brought glory to the city of Belgaum and KLES Hospital, in particular, said beaming Dr Prabhakar Kore, Chairman of the KLE Society.

I am thrilled to note that not just three heart transplants are performed besides a liver patient at Bengaluru, and two kidney patients have a new lease of life at SDM Dharwad. The KLE Society established this hospital over two decades ago with the vision that no patient from this area should be deprived of high-quality, super-speciality treatment & all our services are offered at an affordable cost, said Dr Prabhakar Kore.

Performing three heart transplants in a gap of 18 days needs a massive medical infrastructure, highly trained workforce, meticulous planning, post-transplant Intensive care, teamwork and administrative support, opined Dr Richard Saldanha, Chief Cardiac Surgeon.

He led the team from the frontline. The most challenging task was to get the first heart through an SDM Dharwad green corridor, Dharwad, during peak traffic hours amid heavy rain and a cool climate. Thanks to the Hubli-Dharwad & Belagavi police, which provided an excellent green corridor through their efforts, the heart could reach in a record 58 minutes to Belagavi.

In another case, the myth that illiterate, rural people do not come forward to donate organs is dispelled by a young boy Sahadev Goankar (26 Years), from Amte, Khanapur: Taluk, his brave parents, came forward and donated his organs. In this case, transferring the brain-dead donor Sahadev Gaonkar from the Vijay Ortho & Trauma Centre (VOTC) to the KLES hospital in an ambulance using a ventilator was difficult.

A 25-year boy from Kolhapur who had been waiting for a heart for almost two years, 18 Year boy from the village of Gokak Taluk & 48 Year patient from Ranebennur underwent successful heart transplantation.

All three patients had been on the waiting list for two years and were confined to the house because their heart function was only about 20% to 25%. 2 patients were discharged from the hospital. The third will soon return to his home in a couple of days, said Dr M V Jali, Medical Director and Chief Executive of the hospital. He also thanked Dr Ravi Patil, Director of VOTC, for arranging to transfer the patient to KLES.

Usually, a transplant costs Rs.20 to 25 lakh at metro. Yet, considering the socio-economic conditions of northern Karnataka, southern Maharashtra and Goa, KLE have kept a minimum cost of Rs. 10 lakh for heart transplant. Kore added that transplantation is free of charge for needy patients below the poverty line (BPL) under the ambitious Ayushman Bharath-Arogya Karnataka scheme. Gokak Taluka boy is the second beneficiary to undergo free heart transplant. Prabhakar Kore said awareness of organ donation is low in this part of Karnataka. He called for people to come forward and donate their organs instead of burying or burning them.

The transplant team included Dr Mohan Gan, Dr Kiran Kurkure, Dr Darshan, Dr Abhisekh Prabhu and Dr Parshwanath Patil. Dr Sharangouda Patil, Dr Anand Vagrali, Dr Ahijeet Shitole, Dr Jabbar, Dr Shweta Cardiac Anaesthesia, perfusionists, Transplant coordinator, trained nurses and technical support staff are part of the team who made these three transplants successful. The complex procedure of Brain dead declaration of the patient was done by Neurologist Dr. Kutub Makandar & Intensivist Dr. Ambarish Nerlikar.

It may be recalled that, the heart transplant program was put in place in the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery in 2018, and the above team performed a total of 6 successful heart transplants.

Following are role model to the society; the parents came forward in difficult & trying circumstances & donated organs of their dearly children there by saving the precious lives.

Donor 1: Sunil Uday Sawant, 29 Years, resident of Subhash Nagar, Belagavi met with a road traffic accident on 01-07-2022. He was the only son of the family. His mother Asha Uday Sawant serving as Senior Clerk at Superintendent of Police Office took a brave decision of donating the organs of his only son after he was confirmed brain dead. His Heart, Skin & Eyes were donated.

Donor 2: A 16 girl admitted at SDM hospital, Dharwad was declared brain dead and her parents came forward and donated heart, liver, kidneys (2) there by saving 4 precious lives. It will go in the history of North Karnataka, as the first heart brought by green corridor from SDM Dharwad to KLES Hospital, Belgaum in record time of 58 mins with the support of Police Officials of Hubli-Dharwad & Belagavi on 11th July, 2022.

Donor 3: Sahadev Arjun Gaonkar, 26 Year Resident of Amte, Taluka Khanapur met with an accident on Jamboti road on 18-07-2022. He was admitted at Vijay Orhto & Trauma Centre (VOTC), Ayodhyanagar, Belagavi. Dr. Ravi Patil, Director VOTC supported the cause of organ donation and shifted the patient to KLES Hospital to facilitate organ donation. The parents of Sahadev come from a very humble background of farming community of remote village. Parents of Sahadev, Shri. Arjun & Drupadi Gaonkar, Shri Kasarlekar Chairman Mandal Panchayat & Abhimanyu, Member PYAS foundation counselled relatives and Sahadev’s parents took a bold decision of donating organs and saved 4 lives.


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