It has already received the licence for pancreas transplants

Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, has launched its pancreas transplantation programme.

Anand Khakhar, senior consultant, Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery, said the hospital had already received the licence for pancreas transplants and islet cells too; had trained its staff and was all set to perform the surgeries.

The pancreas is the organ that is responsible for secretion of insulin. It can be transplanted during a kidney transplantation.

The key indications for a pancreas transplant are diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), recurrent diabetic nephropathy after a kidney transplant; and autonomic neuropathy causing hypoglycaemic unawareness, Dr. Khakhar explained. Worldwide, there is a near 100 per cent survival rate, and a graft survival rate of 85 per cent at three years, he added.

Over the months, Apollo would also offer multi-visceral transplants (small bowel and any other organ) and have a dedicated unit for paediatric organ transplantation. A memorandum of understanding had been signed with the University of Pittsburg for these expanded activities.

Dr. Khakhar was speaking to press persons at a meeting organised to commemorate the completion of over 50 liver transplant surgeries at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. A total of 53 liver transplantations were completed since the programme started in 2007, maintaining outcomes at 94 per cent, and a long term survival rate of 90 per cent. Systems were put in for multi-disciplinary care for liver diseases.

Only 11 of the 53 surgeries were from living donors, and the remaining 42 were from cadaveric donors, he added.

Patients Harinath, a radiographer, from Chennai and Leela Kalyanaraman of Bangalore, who had received liver transplants recently at Apollo spoke of the great work by Dr. Khakhar and Anand Ramamurthy, consultant, Centre for Liver Disease and Transplantation, and the multidisciplinary team that put them back on their feet again, after the surgery

Prathap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo, said two Centres of Excellence for treating liver disease and provide a 360 degree evaluation of the liver would be set up, one in Delhi and the other in Chennai.

The first liver transplant in the country was done at the Apollo Hospital in Delhi and since then, at least 400 liver transplants, mainly live-related.