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10 lakh more donors required to meet India’s heart transplant needs


Kolkata: India needs 10 lakh more donors to meet its requirement for heart transplants, which have a high success rate of above 85 per cent in the country, said a Mumbai-based doctor here on Sunday.

However, the main concern remains the taboo regarding organ donation and licensing of hospitals to carry out the transplant, said Vijay Agarwal, Chief Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon and Programme Coordinator, Fortis Paediatric and Congenital Heart Centre.

“We now have a shortage of 10 lakh donors for heart transplants … Since the entire process of transplanting the heart has to be completed within four hours, what is challenging is the coordination, timing and team effort. If one person does not cooperate, the whole operation can fail….”

Agarwal said geographic proximity is necessary between the heart donor and the recipient.

He said India had no lack of medical talent, noting: “Our results are as good as the results in western countries.”

“We only lag behind in numbers because of complex licensing issues and scarcity of donors,” said Agarwal at an interactive session on paediatric heart transplant and critical heart ailment organised by the Rotary Club of Calcutta Visionaries and Rotary Club Calcutta Millennium.

Unlike Maharashtra and Kerela, the West Bengal government has yet to license hospitals to conduct organ transplants.

To encourage the practice of organ donation, Agarwal said: “Whenever we have extra food we give it to someone who is in need. Then why don’t we do the same for organs?”


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