Mumbai: After 14 years, KEM hospital to perform first live liver transplant

21 February,2024 07:04 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Eshan Kalyanikar

19 patients have been listed for cadaveric liver transplant

The newly inaugurated ICU for liver transplant patients

Key Highlights

KEM hospital is preparing for its first live liver transplant in 14 years, as it currently has two such patients and donors. Meanwhile, it is awaiting organ donors to resume its cadaveric liver transplant facilities, which were shut during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 19 individuals listed for it.

Dr Chetan Kantharia, head of the Surgical Gastroenterology Department, said, "For the live liver transplant patients, we have the recipient admitted, and we are checking donors for fitness." The hospital's last live liver transplant attempt was in 2010 but the programme was shut down after the death of both, the recipient and the patient, due to post-surgical infections.

This time around the hospital also has a dedicated ICU unit for transplant patients, at par with corporate hospitals, to avoid any post-surgical infections. Dr Sangeeta Rawat stated that the transplant facility was inaugurated last week and mentioned, "We are also setting up the machines and deploying additional staff in the meantime." The transplant facilities are also open for paediatric patients from six years and above. No such patients are on the list as of now. The doctors estimate the first cadaveric transplant to be done within a month, with priority given to patients depending on their Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score.

This determines the severity of liver damage taking into account bilirubin levels (that could indicate liver damage), as well as serum creatinine levels (indicating kidney health). The score also considers the International Normalised Ratio, which informs doctors of blood clotting time to prevent excessive bleeding and other complications. "Anyone with an MELD score of more than 20 is eligible for a transplant, and a score exceeding 25 requires an urgent transplant," Dr Kantharia said. "We prioritise patients based on their timely presence, so whoever presents first will be first on the list," he added.

Patients with severe conditions are placed on the super urgent list. As of now, there are no such patients on the list. Earlier patients could register at two hospitals for a transplant. "The rules changed after the lockdown. Now a patient can only register at one hospital," Dr Kantharia said.

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