Pune: Chinmay Patil, a six-year-old boy, who is also a thalassemia major patient from the city, was operated upon for a haploidentical transplant, and he is now able to live a normal life. Before the surgery, his haemoglobin would reduce frequently and he was forced to undergo blood transfusion every month.
May 8 is celebrated worldwide as the World Thalassemia Day.
Thalassemia major occurs when a child inherits two mutated genes from each parent. Children born with this condition usually develop the symptom of severe anaemia within the first year of their life. They also lack the ability to produce normal, adult haemoglobin. Hence, they need blood transfusion frequently. Children diagnosed with this condition also experience chronic fatigue.
Haploidentical transplant is a surgery, where the donor is a 50 per cent match with the recipient.
Speaking about his son, Kiran Patil, Chinmay’s father, said the surgery happened in 2014. “His haemoglobin was very low then. He was just two years old then and it was very difficult for us to see him undergo blood transfusion every month. He was always very weak,” recalled Patil.
He said after surgery, the boy can now live a normal life. “We are able to see him grow normally now. His haemoglobin is 10. He recently stood first in his class. It is a very happy moment for us as a family,” said Patil.
Dr Vijay Ramanan, Haematologist from the Ruby Hall Clinic, who carried out the haploidentical transplant on the two-year-old boy, said this technique can help every thalassemic
patient in India.
“For thalassemia patient, we usually need a 100 per cent match in bone marrow. But through haploidentical transplant, we are trying to use a donor that is a 50 per cent match. In this case particularly, it was the mother, who was a 50 per cent match. In India, out of 100, only two to three such surgeries are done,” said Ramanan.
Ramanan said the thalassemia burden is increasing year after year.
“In Pune alone, we have 1,500 patients. Across India, there are roughly 1.2 million patients. Different studies have highlighted that each year, at least 10,000 children are born with thalassemia,” said Dr Ramanan.
Highlighting the need for awareness, Dr Reshma Roshan, haematologist from the Sahyadri Hospital, said thalassemia is a genetic disorder. There is no way to prevent it.
“But depending on the severity of the disease, proper adherence to treatment, regular consultation with doctors, healthy lifestyle, diet and mild exercise can help manage thalassemia in a better way. Yellowish discolouration of eyes, pale looking skin, delayed growth in children and fatigue and breathlessness are some common symptoms that can help in early diagnosis,” said Roshan.