Hyderabad fast emerging as hub of liver transplant in India

HYDERABAD: The city is fast emerging into a hub of liver transplant in India, with the latest statistics from the state-run Jeevandan programme revealing that from January 2013 to October 2014, a total of 77 livers were retrieved from cadavers for transplantation.

Last month, Apollo Hospitals successfully performed liver transplant in India in three critically-ill patients in a span of 40 hours, with cadaver-donated organs in two cases and a live donor in one instance.

One of the patients even flew down from the United States for the operation. The team also faced a logistical challenge when it had to transport a liver from a brain-dead patient in Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad by a commercial flight before transplanting it in one of the three patients, all within a time period of eight hours __ the maximum time the organ can be preserved before transplantation. “In liver transplant in India, doctors have two options __ either retrieve a liver from a brain-dead patient or use a portion of liver from a living donor, but the latter faces a 0.3% risk,” said Dr Manish C Varma, head, Centre for Liver Diseases and Transplantation, Apollo Group.

With the government-backed Jeevandan programme, he said they took up 50 liver transplantation cases in Hyderabad since 2011, claiming a success rate of 97% for cadaver liver donation cases and 100% for living donor cases.

Incidentally, 2010-2011 was the time when liver transplant in India picked up in corporate hospital groups. Coinciding with the state framing guidelines for Jeevandan scheme in 2010 under Andhra Pradesh Transplantation of Human Organs Act. While KIMS sources said they performed 20 liver transplants, Global Hospitals, Hyderabad, carried out more than 340 liver transplants, the highest by corporate hospital in the city, since then.

The cost of the procedure remains high, between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, but non-availability of cadaver liver donors has led to a long wait for patients.

“As on today, 237 patients are on our waiting list,” said V S Anuradha, spokesperson for Jeevandan scheme, claiming that very few relatives of brain-dead patients come forward to donate organs.

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