With the recent opening of the liver transplant department at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, a team of Doctors led by Dr. AS Soin, Director & Chief Surgeon of Jaslok Medanta Liver Transplant Program, have conducted their first 4 successful Liver Transplants. These included 2 rare cases – a small child with Hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) and a lady with sudden, drug-induced acute liver failure.
- Hepatoblastoma usually occurs in children under the age of 2 years
- Survival time without transplant varies from 2 weeks to 38 months
- Only 0.5% of liver transplants among children are done for hepatoblastoma
- According to doctors, liver transplants on children who have undergone previous liver surgery are among the most difficult
- Drug-induced liver diseases are caused by physician or self-prescribed medicines
- Alternative medicines (Ayurvedic or natural) may cause sudden liver failure due to ill-defined source and doses.
While Jaslok Hospital pioneered Liver Transplantation in the 1990s, the joining of Dr Soin has given the program a fresh fillip, with the establishment of Jaslok’s state-of the art Liver Transplant Clinic, dedicated liver ICU and operating rooms in early 2017. The new infrastructure coupled with the expertise of renowned doctors has resulted in successful liver transplants on some of the most complex cases.
A 2-year-old boy from Mumbai was suffering from liver cancer – Hepatoblastoma. Within weeks of the diagnosis, He had to undergo a Liver resection. After the cancer recurred, he had to finally undergo a Liver Transplant. Elaborating the case, Dr Soin said that “His transplant was challenging not only because his body had been weakened by the cancer and the chemotherapy, but also due to his previous liver surgery. This resulted in bowel and liver getting matted together, making the separation of the cancerous liver and its blood vessels very difficult during the operation. His father who donated 30% of his liver, proved a good match for his son’s transplant.”
Dr. Neelam Mohan, the Chief Pediatric Hepatologist, said, “Post-operatively, he needed meticulous intensive care, immunosuppressive and nutritional management to see him through. While we expect that he will now enjoy normal childhood and growth, we will have to monitor his medication for a long time to come.”
His parents are delighted at the result. Vikram, toddler’s father and the liver donor, said, “Thanks to Dr Soin & his team of exceptional doctors, I feel absolutely fine. It is such a pleasure and relief to see our son cured and recovered. We are glad he is living like a normal, healthy toddler.”
Hepatoblastoma is rare, diagnosed in less than one in a million children. Children have a higher risk for developing Hepatoblastoma if they have one or more of the factors: born prematurely with very low birth weight or have one side of the body growing faster than the other. Symptoms of Hepatoblastoma are swollen abdomen, pain in the abdomen, back pain, itchy skin, yellowish eyes and/or skin (jaundice), pale skin and lips (may mean Anaemia), loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting and fever.
Another save from the clutches of death was Ruchi Arora, a 45-year-old woman, who suddenly took ill after consuming alternative medicine for varicose veins. Over just a few weeks, she developed acute liver failure. She had to be immediately flown down from Dubai. When told by doctors that Ruchi’s chances of survival without transplant were barely 10%, her husband came forward to donate 65% of his liver to save her life. The operation was nothing short of a life changer. This experience has made her realize the need for expert advice for any medications. Ruchi said, “I am eternally grateful for the expertise of the Jaslok doctors – Dr AS Soin and his team – in surgery for acute liver failure that resulted in a timely emergency transplant and gave me a new life. And all this would not have been possible had my husband not donated a part of his liver.”
Looking back at these cases, Dr. AS Soin, Director & Chief Surgeon of Jaslok Medanta Liver Transplant Program at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre said, “While I have more than 2500 liver transplants under my belt, every transplant I perform is a new challenge. I treat the patient and the case like it is my life’s first case. Both these transplants were very complex, but without the help of the team, they wouldn’t have been possible. Jaslok Hospital is a leading super specialty hospital of Western India where all the complicated diseases are treated, and advanced surgeries are performed. I thank Dr. Tarang for giving me the opportunity to be associated with a world class hospital like Jaslok.”
While expressing her happiness, Dr. Tarang, CEO, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre said, “We knew we were in for a totally different level of transplant expertise when we got Dr A S Soin to be a part of our liver transplant program. With state of the art infrastructure and the best surgeons, the hospital provides the most advanced and comprehensive transplant care in India. The only goal of our hospital is to continue to win our patients trust, and to set a benchmark for the kind of treatment people deserve. Lastly, I would like to congratulate Dr A S Soin, and the team for successfully performing liver transplants on the both the cases, and on the other patients who are present here today.”