Marathon liver transplant saves three toddlers

New Delhi, Jan 17, (IANS) Three children got a new lease of life following a 20-hour, complex liver transplant procedure, requiring a team of 40 doctors simultaneously performing in half-a-dozen operation theaters.

Tejasree, Ansa and Anish suffered from congenital liver conditions leading to life-threatening complications and needed immediate liver transplants. But none of the three could receive a transplant from their respective families.

Twenty-two-month old Ansa and one-year-old Anish, suffered from biliary atresia, the congenital absence of bile duct, while three-year-old Tejasree suffered from a rare genetic condition called Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), due to which her body couldn’t digest amino acids.
Tejasree’s father’s blood group was O-positive, while she was B-positive. In case of Ansa and her father, it was vice versa.
“Tejasree and Ansa exchanged their donor (father’s) livers and Tejasree’s liver in turn, went to Anish. We could pull it off and save all three,” said Neelam Mohan, chief paediatric hepatologist at Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine where the operation was conducted.
Tejasree’s liver could, however, function normally in another person’s body while she needed a new liver to cope with the MSUD problem. Her own liver was transplanted to Anish as both had the same blood group.

Talking about the chain of six operations, Medanta Institute chairman Arvinder Singh Soin said: “The six liver operations, each linked to another, all at the same time, were a marathon task.”
Tejashree and Ansa and their donor parents were operated upon and both the girls received a suitable transplant from each other’s fathers.

“We were very worried throughout the day, even though the (hospital) staff explained everything to us. But it was such a long time and we were worried about all the three children,” said an emotional Anuj Kakroo, Anish’s father.
“We feel as if we are all one family now,” said Abid Munshi, Ansa’s father.
The surgery cost more than Rs.15 lakh for each child but the parents were satisfied.
“It’s expensive but you can’t get so much care with an empty pocket, everyone knows the state of government hospitals,” said Munshi, who hails from Kashmir.