New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj underwent a kidney transplant at AIIMS on Saturday . Her condition is stable, doctors said. The kidney was donated by a voluntary donor who is in her 40s and is not related to the minister, they added.
Dr M C Misra, director of AIIMS, said both the minister and the donor were doing well post-surgery. “They have been kept in the ICU for close monitoring,” he said.Doctors said Swaraj should be discharged in two to three weeks.
Sources said the transplant, a life-saving procedure for a patient with kidney failure as was the case with Swaraj, started around 9am. The harvesting and transplant took 90 minutes each. It was led by Dr Mukut Minz, former head of the department of renal transplant surgery at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Dr V K Bansal from AIIMS. Minz is currently with Fortis, Mohali. A team of transplant anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians and other support staff assisted them.
“First, the organ was retrieved from the donor. It took about 90 minutes. After that, the kidney was transplanted into the recipient in nearly the same time. Kidney perfusion took some more time,” said a doctor who did not want to be named. He added that Swaraj had regained consciousness and her recovery post-surgery was satisfactory .
“The minister’s family members were allowed to meet her post-surgery ,” a doctor said. AIIMS officials said a multi-disciplinary team of doctors will continue monitoring her heart, lung and kidney functioning over the next week. They will also monitor the dosage of medicines to be given for suppressing immunity and controlling diabetes. Swaraj has been suffering from diabetes for several years and was recently put on dialysis. Diabetes is a known cause of kidney failure.
“Our body’s immune system has a natural tendency to fight against any foreign body , whether it is a donor kidney or a virus. Immunosuppressive drugs are given to reduce this capacity so that the organ can settle down without any complications,” a senior nephrologist explained.
The minister took many by surprise by tweeting about her illness in October. “I am in AIIMS because of kidney failure… I am on dialysis. I am undergoing tests for a kidney transplant. Lord Krishna will bless (sic),” she said.
She remained active despite her illness, even helping out an AIIMS scholar who was struggling to get an Australian visa.
On Saturday , her husband Swaraj Kaushal was among many who tweeted about her successful surgery . President Pranab Mukherjee wrote to her, saying, “Dear Sushma ji, it is with satisfaction that I learned you underwent a successful surgery today and are now convalescing. You have forever been a fighter and I am sure it is only a matter of time before you are back at the helm at the earliest. Warm good wishes.”