Chennai hospital performs 38 successful living donor liver transplants amid pandemic

The transplantations were performed adhering to the strict guidelines of ICMR and the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).
Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai
Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai
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Gleneagles Global Health City (GGHC), a multi-organ transplant centre in Chennai, has successfully performed 38 living donor liver transplantations across Tamil Nadu during the pandemic (Mar 23rd to Dec 25th 2020), whilst adhering to the strict guidelines of ICMR and the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO). Considering the high risk of developing COVID-19 infection in an organ transplantation, the regulatory authorities had advised hospitals to perform only emergency or urgent liver transplants for conditions such as acute liver failure or acute on chronic liver failure or for patients who are at risk of rapid deterioration due to a delay in transplantation. 

Given that even the slightest delay in a transplantation procedure could cause serious harm to the life of the patient, the team at GGHC evaluated the urgency of the transplantation using MELD score (Model for End Stage Liver Disease). In normal circumstances, patients with a MELD score > 15 are considered for liver transplant. However, during this pandemic, only very sick patients with MELD score greater than 25 points were considered for liver transplantation. The GGHC liver transplant team successfully performed these surgeries applying stringent infection prevention protocols developed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Joy Varghese, Director - Hepatology & Transplant Hepatology, Gleneagles Global Health City said, “At Gleneagles Global Health City, we have successfully performed living donor liver transplants for 38 patients who fulfilled one of the above three said criteria. Out of the 38 patients, 24 were adults and 14 patients were children. Donors and recipients were discharged from the hospital hale and healthy in the shortest possible period. Our sincere gratitude to the Tamil Nadu government for supporting timely treatment for 26 liver transplant patients through CM’s Health Insurance Scheme during these unprecedented times.”

Living donor liver transplantations are complex surgeries in the best of times, said Dr. Mettu Srinivas Reddy, Director- Liver Transplant & HPB Surgery, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai adding, “During this pandemic, our aim was to perform liver transplants for critically ill patients in a safe, timely and technically perfect manner thus ensuring their smooth and rapid recovery. I am proud to say that our liver transplant team has accomplished all these goals with results on par with the world’s best.” Speaking on achievement of this milestone,

Dr. Alok Khullar, CEO – Gleneagles Global Health City said, “Performing living donor liver transplantations during the pandemic COVID-19 was highly challenging as the lives of the patient, donor and the entire team of liver specialists were at risk. We took it as a challenge to implement the highest standards of infection control to enable transplantation without any risk of COVID-19 transmission. The multi-disciplinary approach of the hepatology and liver transplant team in collaboration with the infectious diseases team enabled us to provide excellent clinical outcomes to patients suffering from end stage liver disease.”

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