Millennium Post

Diabetics too can donate vital organs: Experts

Despite a major shortage of heart donors in the country, doctors of the cardiology department of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said that diabetics too can donate their vital parts, given that the organs have not suffered a serious damage.

The comments were given at a recent public gathering discussing heart transplant procedures.

Providing the figures on donors, Dr Balram Airan, Chief of Cardiothoracic Centre, AIIMS, said for every 50,000 patients, requiring a heart transplant, only 300 donors were available.

Airan said that though awareness about organ donation had increased, there was a lot of reluctance among people due to the lack of knowledge.

A significant point raised by experts at the event was that even diabetic patients could volunteer to donate their organs. “People with diabetes can also donate their organs, if the parts are not severely affected,” said Dr Airan.

Dr Arti Vij of the Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO) said: “A methodical approach is taken at the ORBO for organ donation. A team of four doctors constituted by ORBO conducts around 15 tests to examine whether the patient is brain dead. It is only then we go ahead with further tests to examine if are there any further defects in the organ of the patient.”

Dr Vij further added that even if the heart of a donor cannot be accepted due to certain defects, “its valves can still be utilised and therefore organ donation should not be stopped. Our doctors motivate the kin of the patients for organ donation.”

On the issue of assist devices for treatment of heart diseases, the doctors stated that besides huge expenses, infection and clotting of blood are some major challenges. “A normal assist device can cost you tens of lakhs of rupees. A major reason for them being expensive is because most of the devices are imported from outside,” said Dr Airan.

The doctors, however, assured that most heart patients do not require complicated means of treatment at once and there are many patients who are just on medications.

“There are around 20 per cent of heart patients who require a heart transplant or assist devices. For the rest, we provide them specific medications,” said Dr Sandeep Seth, assistant professor, Department of Cardiology, AIIMS.
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