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SGRH achieves a rare feat Liveraging

Updated: April 24, 2010 10:39 am

Having completed 520 liver transplants, the liver transplant department of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) has become South Asia’s first department to successfully complete more than 500 live donor liver transplants. It is to be noted that the SGRH has established the country’s busiest and most successful liver transplant and complex liver surgery department which handles referred cases from all over India.

            The hospital performs 10-12 live donor liver transplants every month with results, which are at par with the world’s best centres, i.e. a success rate of more than 90 per cent for the patients and a 100 per cent safety record for the donors, which is among the highest globally.

            “The hospital is proud to have spearheaded the development of this complex specialty in India. Our team has introduced many innovations that are now followed world over. This indeed brings joy as well as a lot of responsibility. We are also taking the initiative to help other transplant centres develop and create awareness about organ donation,” said Dr BK Rao, chairman, SRGH.

            The results of transplant are chiefly dramatic in a patient suffering from acute liver failure. “To handle cases of acute liver failure is the most challenging of them all, as it can kill a person within a week, not giving doctors enough time to work on the case,” said Dr AS Soin, chairman, liver transplantation, SRGH.

            In adults, sudden acute liver failure is commonly caused by hepatitis E or A—both transmitted from infected water or food. “While most such cases of hepatitis recover, only one per cent of them progress to a stage that needs an emergency liver transplant,” explained Dr Sanjiv Saigal, chief transplant hepatologist. Although transplant is life-saving, it is a big logistic challenge for the family and the transplant team to prepare the patient get a suitable donor ready and complete the evaluation process within the short window of a few hours, he said.

            A mother will do every possible thing to save her child when it comes to her child’s life. This was proved by Yashoda, a South Africa-based NRI, who came all the way from South Africa with her husband to get her daughter operated upon. “When I was told by the doctor that my baby daughter (Jordan) was afflicted with acute liver failure due to hepatitis, my husband and I got numb by this news. Transplant was the only way that could save my daughter. But we didn’t have much of time. We live in South Africa, where live donation of liver is banned.

            “We, therefore, immediately rushed to India and consulted Dr Neelam Mohan, chief pediatric hepatologist, SRGH. She explained us everything about the transplant. As we were new to India, we didn’t know anybody. So being a mother I became the donor. The SRGH team operated my daughter and now after 18 months my daughter and I are absolutely healthy and fine,” informed Yashoda.

            “We have a 100 per cent success rate in this department. Pediatric transplants anyway are less than 10 per cent of total transplants,” informed Dr Neelam Mohan. “People are still skeptical about spending money on children,” she added.

            According to rough estimates, India requires an annual organ transplant of about 20,000, whereas only 500 transplants take place every year.

By Vaishali Tanwar

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