MGM Healthcare, a super-specialty hospital in Chennai, on Friday announced that their institute of liver transplant has successfully conducted innovative swap liver transplants and is the first swap procedure to be initiated in Tamil Nadu under the Chief Minister Health Insurance Scheme. The hospital conducted the successful swap liver transplants in April amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Thiagarajan Srinivasan, Director, Institute of Liver Diseases, Transplant and HPB surgery, MGM Healthcare, said, â€śA unique and secure transplant bio-bubble was implemented for the transplants and we successfully managed to vaccinate all our team members before that. We ensured that all our staff members, patients, donors and their family members underwent COVID RT-PCR tests and tested negative for COVID-19 at frequent intervals in both pre- and post-surgery phase. Any person who exited the bio-bubble had to get themselves tested again and obtain a negative report to re-enter the bubble. We took extra precautions wherein all the patients and donors were asked to undergo chest CT scan apart from the regular COVID test to rule out COVID pneumonia and eliminate the risk of infection completely.â€ť
Amidst the pandemic, liver transplants are often hampered by the limited availability of brain dead organ donors. â€śThe alternative in medical science is harnessing liver through living donor liver transplantation in which a relative donates a part of his liver. But the compatibility is restricted by the availability of related living liver donors with matched blood group and matched liver volume. In order to overcome this issue, the donor pool can be expanded by paired exchange liver transplant (swap liver transplant). We have observed that in transplant cases, close to 25% of the donors get rejected due to various reasons and swap transplants can help us in saving many lives otherwise limited by the availability of compatible organs,â€ť he added.
The hospital acknowledged and thanked the Tamil Nadu government for their support and instant financial approval under the Chief Minister Health Insurance Scheme to conduct the swap transplants. The hospital has further readied a state-of-the-art 400-bed healthcare facility and is running this life-saving liver transplant programme under a secure transplant bio-bubble where patients, organ donors and their family members wonâ€™t carry the risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection.
Dr. Karthik Mathivanan Liver Transplant Surgeon, MGM Healthcare said, â€śSwap living donor liver transplant needs robust infrastructure, precise logistics and constant manpower coordination to run four operation theatres simultaneously without any hiccups. It takes 10-12 hours for one transplant and a successful swap demands a large and well-experienced team including senior liver transplant surgeons, anesthetists, transplant critical care experts and technicians to coordinate and perform four surgeries simultaneously. These swap transplants will help us in addressing the rising organ shortage issue in the country during the pandemic.â€ť