Mumbai: Rare liver swap transplant performed at HNRFH

Mumbai: In a rare liver swap transplant surgery involving four persons – two donors and two recipients – the lives of a Mumbai doctor’s wife and a Kolhapur farmer suffering from end-stage liver failures were saved at the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

Four months ago, oblivious of each other’s existence, a 55-year-old Mumbai doctor suffering from liver cancer, and a 36-year-old Santosh Bhedigiri, a farmer suffering from end-stage liver failure, were both terminal and fighting for their lives.

They had lost all hope of life-saving liver transplants as the only available family donors (their respective wives) were of different blood groups.

Tarang Gianchandani, CEO, HNRFH said four surgeries, performed simultaneously by a team of nearly three dozen surgeons toiling for 14 hours in four operation theatres, finally resulted in the 55-year old medico and 36-year old peasant getting new livers and a new lease of life.

Sanjay Bhedigiri, elder brother of Santosh and BEST conductor said his brother is suffering from liver and kidney infection for more than four years, for which treatment was going.

“We had shifted him to a hospital in Kolhapur for treatment but his health was getting worsened. Later, doctors recommended us to go Mumbai and get him treated at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital.

For more than a year he was in the waiting list for getting his liver transplant as the hospital failed to get a living donor,” he said.

Dr AS Soin, Director and Chief Transplant Surgeon who led the team of surgeons said, Atam (name changed) and his wife’s blood groups were B and A and that of Santosh and his wife’s, A and B respectively.

An exchange of the livers donated by each donor allowed us to transplant both patients and save them. “The biggest challenge in swap transplant surgery is that all 4 operations (two patients and two donors) must take place simultaneously, otherwise the donor for the second transplant (first recipient’s relative) may refuse to undergo surgery once their own loved one has been transplanted,” said Dr Soin.

Dr Chetan Bhatt, Director, Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary Sciences said the pre-transplant preparation of both patients was very challenging, as they were very sick – one with advanced cancer and the other with recurrent life-threatening bleeding and liver failure-related kidney dysfunction. Neither of them would have survived more than a few months without a transplant.

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