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Rare liver transplant a success

21 October 2011 09:40 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A team of doctors successfully performed the first ever liver transplant, where the liver of a mother who was alive and well was transplanted in her daughter at a private hospital in Colombo, the head of the team of medical specialists said yesterday.

Medical professionals said the 20-hour surgery was carried out at Nawaloka Hospital and was considered a milestone in the management of chronic liver disease in Sri Lanka.

At a news briefing held at the hospital auditorium, Prof. Janaka De Silva said both the mother and her daughter whose liver was affected by cirrhosis resulting from a medical condition known as Wilson’s disease were doing well and have been transferred from the ICU to a normal ward.

“Two successful cadaveric liver transplants have been previously performed at the Colombo North Teaching Hospital and both recipients are alive and well -- in one case four and in the other six months after surgery. A cadaveric transplant is when the liver is transplanted from a person who is brain-dead often from head injuries to a recipient suffering from advanced liver disease and is technically less demanding than when a part of the liver of a live donor is transplanted,” Prof. De Silva said.

He said the need for a living donor arises as there was a huge mismatch between demand and the availability of cadaveric organs.

In this instance a 50-year-old mother donated two-thirds of her liver to her 20-year-old daughter. They live in Kotmale.

Prof. De Silva said the remaining part of the liver normally grows to its full capacity in two months and both the donor and recipient could continue with their normal lives.

Liver transplant surgery is complicated and takes about 20 hours to finish where the cost of surgery will have to be calculated at the time the patients are to be discharged from hospital but such surgery costs Rs.8 million in India and much more in Singapore and in the West. The surgery was performed free of charge.

Dr. Rohan Siriwardana, who was part of the medical team, said this was a milestone in Sri Lanka’s medical history and would provide an opportunity for more Sri Lankans to obtain liver transplants locally without having to go abroad and spending tens of millions of rupees.

The transplant team led by the Colombo North Teaching Hospital Transplant Service included surgeons Rohan Siriwardena, Ruwan Wijesuriya, Chandika Liyanage, Sumudu Kumarage, Aloka Pathirana and Harsha Gamage; anaesthetists Bhagya Gunatilleke, Nilmini Wijesuriya, Sagan Ranasinghe and Asantha de Silva; radiologist Sanjeewa Munasinghe; and physicians Anuradha Dassanayake, Madunil Niriella, Mettanada Navaratne, Arjuna de Silva and Janaka de Silva.

The team was ably assisted by several other consultants, postgraduate trainees, junior doctors and nursing staff. Surgery was done free of charge as neither the Nawaloka Hospital nor the medical team charged fees. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)

  Comments - 5

  • Ramsa Saturday, 22 October 2011 10:53 AM

    cheers this proves that our doctors are more advanced and clever.Good example for richpeople travelling to abroad for operation.Trust our doctors they are the best

    Dr.Vasaanthan Saturday, 22 October 2011 11:21 AM

    Congratrulations Janaka.


    Dr I.M.C.Fernando.UK Saturday, 22 October 2011 01:05 PM

    Congratulations to the Colombo North Teaching Hospital Transplant Service on a job well done and also to the Nawaloka Hospital and the Transplant Service Doctors and Staff for doing it free of charge. Sri Lanka should be proud of all of you !!

    sangeetha Saturday, 22 October 2011 02:35 PM

    I salute the hospital and the team of experts who donated their expertise to this mother and daughter. In the USA such a surgery could amount anywhere from 25- 50 million rupees. These physicians considered life to be beyond monetary value . Thank you, a true gift indeed. May such good deeds be returned to you many times over.

    AF Sunday, 23 October 2011 03:06 AM

    Congratulations. It is really a milestone in Srilankan surgical history. However the question is whether we can afford to do these surgeries in our set up with existing limited resources especially in the Government sector. 20 hours of operating theatre time utilizing the services of 20 odd consultants alone is too much for a country like ours to save a single life. I am not under estimating the life saved or the valiant effort of doctors involved. However we have to think of the cost benefit ratio of all this to start a sustainable transplantation programme.

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