It receives around 300 patients with liver diseases every day

With administrative sanction being accorded, the city’s second liver transplant unit in the public sector is all set to come up at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH).

Work is being taken up to establish the necessary infrastructure, create a patient database and form the transplant team. At GH, the liver transplant unit will function under the departments of hepatology and surgical gastroenterology. Every day, the hospital receives 250 to 300 outpatients with liver diseases, including those with chronic conditions requiring liver transplantation.

An official of the health department said this initiative comes at a time when liver diseases are on the rise.

“To have one more unit means we can take care of patients who are unable to pay for this very expensive procedure in the private sector. With the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme in operation, patients will be able to get their surgeries done free of cost as well.”

S.M. Chandramohan, head, department of surgical gastroenterology, said to begin with, they will establish a liver transplant outpatient department to identify potential recipients — those with liver failure — and register them on a database.

“Simultaneously, we will work on a full team to perform the transplant, and also a support team,” he said.

Two surgeons of the department — S.M. Chandramohan and D. Kannan — have been trained at King’s College, London, and will perform the surgeries. There is a substantial number of support staff, including doctors and nursing staff, according to officials.

“We will start with a cadaver transplantation programme as any new transplant programme must start with cadaveric organs. The new theatre, which will be dedicated to liver transplant, will have three tables — one each for the donor and the recipient, and the other will be a work table for surgeons,” said Dr. Chandramohan. K. Narayanaswamy, head, hepatology, GH, said it is likely the process of liver transplantation will begin in about three months’ time.

S. Geethalakshmi, director of medical education, said the government sanctions Rs. 12 lakh for liver transplants and takes care of everything — from evaluation to post-surgery care.

Immunosuppressants, which are essential to keep the transplanted organ from being rejected by the body, are given free of cost.

The first liver transplant unit was set up at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital in 2009. Till now, 41 liver transplants have been performed there.

Since the inception of the Cadaver Transplant Programme in 2008, the State has recorded 439 liver transplants at various hospitals, including several in the private sector.

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