Successfully transplanted the liver of a minor donor to a 13-year-old girl and an 8-month-old baby

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by Bel G

Posted on August 8, 2018

Successfully transplanted the liver of a minor donor to a 13-year-old girl and an 8-month-old baby

The Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona has successfully performed a liver transplant performed by the split procedure, which consists of dividing the donor's liver to obtain fully functional grafts for two recipients, in this case, a 13-year-old girl and a 8-months baby.

The liver donor was also a minor and the receiving girls were in a critical situation that could only be resolved with a transplant.

The head of the hepatobiliopancreatic surgery and transplant service at the Vall d'Hebron hospital, Ramón Charco, explained on Tuesday that "liver transplant splits a very complex surgical procedure reserved for exceptional cases that require a high level of experience."

The transplant was made to two girls, Naroa, aged 13, from Basque Country (Spain), who suffered from a metabolic disease that forced her to follow a very restrictive diet in proteins and a hepatocarcinoma (liver cancer), and Rome, 8 months and living in Terrassa (Barcelona), who suffered from Alagille syndrome, a rare disease that had caused irreversible liver cirrhosis.

The intervention, which took place last July, required a team of 30 professionals: a doctor and a nurse moved to another autonomous community for the extraction of the minor donor organ and brought it to Vall d'Hebron to be divided into two parts.

"While the division of the liver was taking place, simultaneously, the two girls were prepared to receive the organ and the time of ischemia was reduced", pointed the attending physician to the unit of gastroenterology, hepatology, nutritional support and pediatric liver transplants. of Vall d'Hebron, Jesús Quintero.

Hepatic transplantation had only been done once at the Vall d'Hebron hospital in 2002 and, the same day that Naroa and Rome were operated on, 14 more transplants performed, "one of the days of most activity in transplants", has assured the coordinator of transplants, Alberto Sandiumenge.

Naroa has been discharged from hospital after seven days of admission to the hospital and "can now eat meat and sausages", because before "he only ate fruit, vegetables and chemical foods without protein, which conditioned his life."

In the case of Roma, Charco pointed out that, "being smaller (8 months), the recovery time is slower" and that "the small part of the divided liver implanted, but it was still too large for her body and had to stay a few days with the wound open before being able to close it ", although he has assured that "soon" he will be discharged.

"You have given life back to my daughter," said the mother of Naroa, Josefi, and encouraged the children on the waiting list not to lose hope: "Someday they will receive this call", she said.

The mother of Roma, Vanessa, said for her part that "here there is only one hero, who is the donor" and thanked the treatment of all the medical team of the hospital.

Vall d'Hebron performed the first pediatric liver transplant in Spain in 1985 and has been a pioneer in making the first split for adult and child receptors, and in reducing a liver to implant it to a patient.

In addition, it is the second centre of the country in the number of transplants of this type (12-14 per year) and records the best survival rate with respect to the other centres, as reported by this Barcelona hospital centre.

There are currently ten children on the waiting list for liver transplantation and, according to Quintero, "between 30 and 40% of transplants are done with living donors, which puts the person who donates at risk", so they would like that this percentage" was not so high since "it is always better to take advantage of a cadaverous donor."

Also, the surgeon recalled that "the success of transplants is not marking by the survival rate, but that children can have a normal life."

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