Doctors breathe new life into a patient who suffered from end-stage lung disease


38-year-old Rima Agarwal of Jalpaiguri had been diagnosed with end-stage Pulmonary Fibrosis five years ago. She suffered from acute shortness of breath and was in general ill-health due to this. She could survive only with the support of artificial oxygen, since her lungs were unable to function on their own. As her condition worsened, there was an increase in daily oxygen intake from 2 litres to 8 litres.

Rima and her family were devastated when told that there is no cure for her Interstitial Lung Disease, and that she just has to prepare herselffor her final days. It is at this moment that they heard about the successful Lung Transplant Program in the South of India inChennai.

On the 24th of April 2017, Rima visited Gleneagles Global Health City in Chennai, where she met with the specialist team lead by Dr.Sandeep Attawar. The Heart & Lung Transplant Centre of Excellence at Gleneagles Global Health City is one of the finest centres in the world working on end-stage lung diseases, and providing clinical outcomes on par and sometimes surpassing globally set benchmarks.

The specialists at the institute assessed her condition and concluded that a Lung Transplant surgery will provide a definitive cure for Rima’s condition. They immediately started the pre-lung transplant workup. Rima’s name was waitlisted in the State organ sharing registry for donor lungs. Meanwhile, a thorough health assessment was performed on her, to ensure that she is fit for the transplant surgery and can recover faster,post-surgery.

On the 4th of July 2017, a pair of donor lungs was allocated to Rima, and the team led by Dr.Sandeep Attawar performed the bilateral lung transplant surgery on her. The six-hour-long surgery was completed successfully, and Rima was moved to the Cardio-Thoracic ICU, where she was under constant care of the Transplant physicians. Rima was moved to a regular ward within three days and her health progressed towards recovery.

Rima was discharged three weeks after the surgery in a fully fit condition, with her new pair of lungs breathing fresh oxygen on their own. She went back home as a renewed individual, full of life. Today, Rima is as good as any healthy 38-year-old, walking, jogging, running, and dancing.

I thank the doctors at Gleneagles Global Health City, for giving me my life back.  A few months back I had almost given up on my life, but the very first visit to this hospital instilled hope in my heart. The doctors here went to extraordinary lengths to breathe new life into me. My soul has finally regained its music,” said a beaming Rima, on recounting her ordeal and eventual victory over the disease.

While commenting on Rima’s successful Lung Transplant Surgery, Dr.Sandeep Attawar, Director and Chair, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplantation said “Rima and her family had almost given up when they visited us. First and foremost, we had to do our bit to bring about a positive frame of mind.  The courage that Rima exhibited during this entire journey was also a very important factor in the success towards a desirable outcome.”He further added, “The confidence and faith we have in ourselves is majorly due the fact that we built this program with great attention to every minute detail, which enables us to make near accurate calculations on clinical outcomes of all the procedures we offer to our patients”.