First Liver Transplant Claims ‘Split’ Specialists

Split liver transplant is quite an old technology

First Liver Transplant Claims ‘Split’ Specialists

New Delhi, July 6: Delhi Apollo hospital is certainly the hospital in India where first successful liver transplant took place but its recent claim of being ‘first’ in split liver transplant has come unstuck.

The claim seems to have got the goat of Dr. A.S. Soin, Medanta Medcity’s chief liver transplant surgeon. He has claimed to have done it long ago and many a time.

In one sms communication to Dhananjay Kumar, Editor in Chief, Meditoall, Dr. Soin commented on July 3, just one day after Apollo’s claim – ‘I did the first split liver transplant in India in 2005 when I was at SGRH (Sir Ganga Ram Hospital). This technology exists for the last nearly 25 years! We used to do it routinely when I was in UK 1992-1998. I have done this twice in India both times at SGRH 2005 and 2007. Happy to comment further.’

Incidentally, Dr, Soin is also credited with doing first cadaver (brain dead) liver transplant in India. The first ever liver transplant in Apollo was done with a live donor. If the word ‘adults’ have been used as a nuance, Dr. Soin dubs it no brainer too.

Apollo’s press release headline screamed- ‘Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals successfully performs First Split Liver Transplant in two adults.

In a press conference on July2, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital announced the successful completion of a cadaver split liver transplant wherein both the parts of the liver were given to two adult recipients.

The right half of the liver was given to Mr Sarin and the left half to Mrs Lalita Gupta. Both patients were very ill with very advanced liver disease. Numerous living related donors for both these patients had been tested in the past and proven unsuitable for donation.

The claim is – This is the first split liver transplant in two adults reported in the city and the second in the India.

Explaining the uniqueness of the case, Dr Subash Gupta, Chief Liver Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said, “In split liver transplant, the intention is to use the single liver for two patients. Unfortunately, because the two parts are not equal, surgeons use the right half for an adult patient and the other half for a small child. Cadaveric liver are very rarely split and used for two adults with advanced liver disease. In this case, the cadaveric liver was split in situ using our vast experience of living related liver transplant. The right lobe was retrieved as a conventional modified right lobe graft. The remaining liver was removed en bloc with caudate lobe, IVC and coeliac axis. Retrieving the caudate lobe allowed the liver to be used in another adult recipient. This is the first split liver transplant where the left lobe was transplanted with the caudate lobe.’

Dr Gupta further said, ‘Cadaveric organs continue to be in short supply and therefore every effort must be made to use these donated organs in as many needy recipients as possible. Splitting liver in tow adults may address the perennial shortage of organs in India and we hope that many more of these complex operations are done in the future.’

Both the patients have recovered well and have been discharged from the hospital.

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