Heart-to-Heart: How a young Russian boy found a heart in India

Gleb Kudryavtsev. Screenshot of the Pomogi.org website

Gleb Kudryavtsev. Screenshot of the Pomogi.org website

2015 promises to be the Medical Year of India in Russia as a Russian boy, Gleb Kudryavtsev got a new life and a new heart at an Indian hospital in Chennai. Internet Charity Foundation Pomogi.org funded the boy’s treatment.

It’s a story of heart-to-heart connection. The first signs of illness appeared when Gleb Kudryavtsev, a Russian boy from the city of Vladimir, turned six months old. Doctors in Moscow pronounced the fatal diagnosis – restrictive cardiomyopathy. There was hardly any hope for the boy. And the doctors told his mother that only a heart transplant could save the child’s life.

Heart transplants on children are not performed in Russia. And in Germany, there are no donor organs available for foreigners. By a quirk of chance, the boy’s mother found information on the Internet about an Indian hospital chain called Fortis, which was operating the largest heart transplant programme in the country.

“Gleb had no chance of receiving treatment in Russia, as cadaveric organ donations from children are forbidden in our country, while a heart transplant in European clinics costs at least 300,000 euros,” RIA Novosti learned from Lyudmila Baranova, Project Manager at the Internet Charity Foundation Pomogi.Org, which covered the full cost of the boy’s treatment. “The Indian hospitals offered the least expensive path to saving Gleb’s life,” said Baranova.

Last summer, the boy was flown to India, where he was put on the waiting list of donor organ recipients in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states. According to the statistics of the Fortis hospitals network, the average waiting period for an adult heart is 3-5 months, and for children – over 6 months. In a stroke of luck, a heart for Gleb was found in barely two months.

A donor organ was obtained from a dead Indian child of the same age as Gleb, flown in from Bangalore by the air medical service. At the end of December last year, Dr. Balakrishnan, one of the leading surgeons of India, whose career includes over 18,000 heart surgeries, performed the heart transplant surgery on Gleb in the Fortis Malar Hospital in Chennai, the capital of India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu, says the news release of the MedInd Company.

On January 16, Gleb celebrated his third birthday. And the following week, he was discharged from the hospital. He must still stay a few months in India under the supervision of doctors. His family needs to find Russian specialists who will look after Gleb’s health, in cooperation with Indian doctors, when he returns to his home country.

The foundation has noted that given the foreign currency exchange rates and the high cost of treatment in Europe, 2015 could very well become the Medical Year of India in Russia.

First published in Russian by RIA Novosti.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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