Due to the fear of COVID-19 infection, at the end of March 2020, the Government of India had stopped all elective surgeries for some time. However, it is important to adapt and co-exist in these uncertain times and Manipal Hospitals as a patient centric institution has once again shown the way by giving hope and setting a benchmark when it comes to transplantations and organ donations. The Hospital has successfully carried out few such emergency kidney transplants during the extended lockdown maintaining an infection-free environment throughout. In recent months, Manipal Hospitals has carried out 13 kidney transplants i.e, 6 including a cadaver transplant in September, followed by 3 in October, 4 in November. One more transplant scheduled to happen this week.
Dr. Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman of Manipal Hospitals says, “At Manipal Hospitals, we have come to realize that the new normal in our lives has to coexist with the pandemic. Also, over a period of time, it becomes inevitable especially in emergencies, living transplantation is the only chance of saving a life. Manipal Hospitals was one of the first to give hope and set another benchmark by deciding to step up to the new normal situation.”
Elaborating on the topic, Dr Vishwanth. S – HOD and Consultant - Nephrology, Transplant Physician, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road said, “Approximately 220,000 people in India require kidney transplantation annually due to kidney failure mostly resulting from long-standing diabetes and hypertension. However, only 7500 transplants are possible due to the lack of donors. Some of the most common barriers to living donation include donor's concern r egarding complete recovery post-transplant. Living donors have a very low chance of long-term health problems in most cases and can be expected to live a full, healthy life as any other person. At present, cadaver kidney transplantation accounts for only 10% of all kidney transplants. As per the Indian law, intensive care doctors can request for organ donation in the event of brain death to promote decreased donation rate in India. Though the rates of cadaver kidney transplantation rates have improved over 3 times since 2012, it has dropped down significantly in the wake of the pandemic”
Though transplant is elective, sometimes it can be lifesaving. Living donor success rate is as high as 90-95% and the rate of survival in patients receiving a cadaver kidney is about 80-85%. The hospital restarted the transplant programs with all the precautionary care needed. Coupled with globally accepted state-of-art infrastructure and able and expert hands of doctors and staff of the Manipal Hospitals Old Airport Road was triumphant in driving 12 live renal transplants and one cadaver renal transplant to successful completion during the recent months. Further, to minimize hospital exposure, postoperative hospital stays were made shorter and video conferencing was also being undertaken for follow-ups.
Dr Deepak Dubey, HOD and Consultant – Urology, Robotic Surgery and Renal Transplant, who was extremely pivotal in performing some of the transplants, remarks that, “A kidney transplant offers a better quality of life than dialysis for those with end-stage renal disease. With the covid-19 pandemic, there is an obvious concern about the risk of acquiring an infection during the transplant process. Our team has been successfully conducting renal transplants during the pandemic with very positive outcomes. All precautions are being maintained to prevent covid transmission during the transplant process.”