Liver Clinic opened at Apollo

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: A Liver Clinic that will provide multi-disciplinary evaluation under one roof by several specialists was inaugurated at Apollo Hospitals on Wednesday, under a week after World Liver Day was observed across the world.

With the liver clinic in place, patients would not have to be put through the hassle of going from one specialist to the other to take care of the multiple problems involving various parts of the body that might emerge during the course of their disease.

“We will have all the experts in one place for consultation and this will save the patient time and money,” according to Anand Khakhar, consultant transplant and hepatobiliary-pancreatic surgeon, Apollo Hospitals.

V.K.Subburaj, principal secretary, Health, inaugurated the clinic and congratulated the medical team at Apollo for their work in liver transplantation over the last year.

“It is one of the most difficult transplantation programmes to implement. The surgery itself may last between 12 and 13 hours,” he said.

The world over endstage liver failure is a big issue, with transplantation being the only option available to the patient.

There are 45 million carriers of Hepatitis B in India and 17 million carriers of Hepatitis C, both of which are known to cause liver failure.

He said in the last year, 15 livers had been transplanted in Tamil Nadu as part of the newly-launched Cadaver Transplant Programme, of these seven organs had gone to Apollo Hospital.

Donor concept

While the live liver donor concept was slow to pick up, it had definitely increased over the years, Mr. Subburaj said.

As the liver is an organ that is capable of self regeneration, the advantage was that relatives could donate a portion of the liver.

More awareness should be spread about the possibility of donating a part of the liver and the safety of doing so, Mr. Subburaj added.

The inauguration of the liver clinic also coincided with the first year anniversary of a “successful cadaver and living donor liver transplantations.”

The hospital group, between the Delhi and Chennai centres, had topped the country in conducting liver transplantations - both living donor and cadaveric, according to Dr. Khakhar.

The requirements to run a successful programme, including manpower, infrastructure and equipment and allied medical and diagnostic support systems were put in place a year ago before liver transplantation was started at the hospital.

Two patients who had recently benefited from the living donor transplant, receiving a part of the liver from relatives, Sumitra Nayak from Jharkhand and Yanza, a 14-year old from Kenya, felicitated the team of doctors who were involved in the transplantation process.

Since Ms. Nayak was critically ill, there was no time to wait for a cadaveric organ and with Yanza, a cadaveric liver could not be offered to a foreigner and hence the decision to go in for the living donor liver transplantation programme.

Safety of donors

With reference to the debate about the safety of donors, Dr. Khakhar said the risk of death has been documented as 0.3 – 0.5 per cent. Excellent hospital care, post surgery, and anticipating problems that might occur would by and large prevent complications for the donor and facilitate quick regeneration of the liver.

Speaking via teleconference from Hyderabad, Apollo Chairman Prathap Reddy said the hospital was grateful to the State government for facilitating the speedy clearance of living donor transplantation.

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