Ahmedabad-based developer Dipak Patel is the perfect icon for the theme for World Heart Day 2022 – ‘Use Heart for Every Heart’ – he could well be the longest surviving person in the state with a transplanted heart. Now in his 50s, this year Patel marked 18 years of his new life. He underwent heart transplant surgery in 2004.
Back in 2003, doctors found that his heart’s ability to pump blood had reduced considerably. After prolonged treatment, there was some respite, but the condition surfaced again. At its peak, his heart was found to be pumping only 33 percent of blood, rendering him incapable of carrying out daily tasks. Patel was flown to Cape Town in South Africa where he underwent a heart transplant.
“I was the last person to receive the heart before the country changed organ transplant norms for foreign nationals. In the past 18 years, apart from two angioplasties, there has been no issue with the heart,” said Patel, the chairman of a city-based realty firm, who is today leading a normal life.
“The rise in organ donations in India is commendable, but we still have a long way to go to reduce the dependence on live donors. We need awareness among citizens and doctors. More hospitals need to contribute to the organ donation network,” he said.
Incidentally, last year Gujarat bought cardiovascular medicines worth Rs1,109 crore, according to data from All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists. Experts said the rise could be due to Covid-related complications.