Six-year-old Ranthika is an enthusiastic basketball player and lives in Erode. Seventeen-year old M. Balakrishnan is fervently preparing for his Class X examination in Chennai.

They live different lives, miles away, but are bound by a common thread. A year ago, they both got a new lease of life with parts of the same liver from a cadaver donor transplanted in them.

Theirs are among the six split-liver transplants performed at Global Hospitals over the past three years. “Six livers have been transplanted in 12 patients so far,” said Mohamed Rela, Director and Head, Institute of Liver Disease and Transplantation, Global Hospitals Group. “Of them, seven were children. The split-liver transplant technique is usually used to transplant an adult and a child.”

“Twenty people per million need a liver transplant, and that is a huge number.

In the west, most of the transplants are done as cadaver transplants. In our part of the world, most of the transplants are done as living donors because we do not have enough cadaver donors,” he said.

In a situation where there is no suitable donor within the family, they have to rely on a cadaver donor.

“But the number of cadaver donors is so small that we will lose a lot of patients while waiting for an organ. I would say up to 50 per cent of those registered will not get an organ because the situation is very acute,” he said emphasising that split-liver transplant was of real help in such situations.

The Institute of Liver Disease and Transplantation will organise a three-day conference on specific aspects involving treatment of liver disease, starting January 31. The focus will also be on ‘peri-operative care of liver transplant recipient’.

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