July 7th: a remarkable day in the history of Sri Lankan Medicine.


The first ever heart transplant in Sri Lankan history was successfully conducted in Kandy general hospital from  a brain-dead patient to a patient whose heart function has decreased down to a 12 %.

The harvested heart was from a 24 year old boy who faced a heavy head injury during a road accident on his bike, while riding without his helmets. The boy’s brain was dead and was under medical supervision for a number of days. On the other hand, a lady was reported from the Anuradhapura General Hospital and it was found that this mother(34) of a kid was suffering from a heart malfunctioning where her heart was functioning at only a 12%.

The doctors and medical experts who were already working on International Training in Heart Transplants found that both the above persons’ physiological measures like weight, blood group and some other medical factors were also found to be matching. The team explained the situation to the family of the donor. The brave decision by the family, showing the first positive signal towards success, led to the following steps being initiated by the doctors.

The three Cardiologists who were working on this transplant were Dr.Anil Abeywickrama, the Consultant Cardiac Surgeon of the Teaching Hospital who harvested the heart from the donor, Dr. Muditha Lansakara and Dr. K. Gnanakanthan transplanted the heart to the recipient.

The operations were carried in adjacent theatres. The harvesting at the first theatre began at 7 p. m. on the 7th of July, and after 3 continuous hours of operation where each second was counting, the transferred heart started beating with alarming success.

The patient was under complete supervision of the medical panel and she could breath naturally and identify her relations on the 13th of July.(6th day from the operation)

The Cardiologists say that such a crucial operation was successful only because of the dedication of the Sri Lankan medical experts and the previous practices they carried out in two of the National Hospitals by conducting the same for two other dead patients harvesting and implanting on their body itself.

The credit goes to all the experts worked on the transplant and 7th of July is recorded “a remarkable day in Sri Lankan history.”

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