Mumbai woman is India's 1st to get lung transplant

Mumbai: In a major achievement, a Mumbai woman became the first India to have successfully got her lung transplanted.

Bed ridden for almost all of last year, Jayashree Mehta's lungs had thickened so much that she needed nine litre of external oxygen supply in a day. "It was very difficult. I couldn't go out. My husband use to take me in the car to the beach and everywhere but with the oxygen. I didn't want to live like that. I wanted to be free," says Jayashree Mehta, who underwent lung transplant surgery.

But a year-long wait for a suitable lung and a complex 12-hour long operation in Mumbai's premier Hinduja Hospital gave Jayashree Mehta a fresh breath of life. She is now the first Indian to have got a lung transplant done in the country but the surgery was not without risks.

Mumbai woman is India's 1st to get lung transplant

"Her chest cavity was small compared to the donor lung because the donor was a male and so the lung could not fit in. If I had pushed the lung in and closed the chest then she would have been haemodynamically unstable. Her heart would not have been able to maintain the pressure. So I left the chest open and then took her back after 36 hours and then trimmed the lung and then closed the chest," said Heart & Lung Transplant Specialist of Hinduja Hospital Dr Jnanesh Thacker.

The world's first lung transplant was done 50 years ago but despite all the medical prowess, India has performed only four lung transplants on foreigner's in five decades. The reasons are:

  • Acute lack of awareness for lung transplants
  • Lung donation is very rare
  • Even if one gets a donor, the blood and the size of the lung need not match
  • Donor should not have been a smoker and on ventilator for more than 24 hours

Five million Indians have died from Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - a progressive lung disease usually affecting smokers. Once lung transplants become popular in the country, many such deaths could be avoided.