A last-minute change of heart

A bizarre case demonstrates that two hearts are better than one

Surgeons in India have been forced to carry out a rare 'piggyback' heart transplant after the donor heart was found to be too small during surgery.

The surgical team was preparing to perform a cardiac transplant to treat their 56-year-old patient’s end-stage heart failure.

But when the organ from a teenage donor arrived, they immediately noticed a problem.

“The donor heart was of normal fist size; the recipient’s heart was the size of a small football,” cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Gopala Krishna Gokhale told Indian news publication the Hindu.

However, the patient’s pulmonary blood pressure was four times above normal and his aortic systolic pressure was down, so Dr Gokhale made the decision to perform the radical procedure.