On July 11, 2013 the liver transplant team at Apollo Hospital, Chennai performed 3 liver transplants in less than 24 hours. Two were deceased donor liver transplants, 1 from a donor in Apollo Hospital, Chennai and 1 in Coimbatore allocated fromthe governmentpool. The third transplant was a scheduled pediatric living donor liver transplant for a sick 9-year old child with a part of left liver donated by his father.
The situation presented a logistic challenge.Four teams of surgeons simultaneously retrieved livers from 2 donors (the Coimbatore donor involving transport by commercial aircraft) and transplanted them into 2 recipients with cirrhosis and liver failure awaiting liver transplantation. The time interval between the removal of the liver from the donors and implantation into the recipients had to be kept to a minimum (maximum of 12 hours) so that the livers would function seamlessly. Thedonor operations could not be delayed or postponed, as thebereaved familiesof the donors who had generously agreed to donate the organs of their loved ones,wanted the ordeal to be over at the earliest possible.
The deceased donor liver transplants started around midnight on 11th July went on through the night (about 8 hours each).In the morning at 11 am, with an interval of about 2 hours to allow for the operation theatres to be prepared and instruments to be sterilized, the living donor liver transplant for the child was commenced. This again involved 2 teams of surgeons and lasted about 8 hours for the donor and 10 hours for the recipient.
All the patients had an uneventful recovery and were discharged (donor on postoperative day 6 and recipients by day 7 to 9). They are doing well on follow-up.This is possible only in a mature system with the surgeons ably supported by equally committed anesthetists, transplant coordinators, nursing and support staff including blood bank and laboratory services among others.The Centre for Liver Disease and Transplantation at Apollo Hospital, Chennai has performed over 250 liver transplants till June 2013. It is already well established among the leading liver transplant centers across the country. Our transplant numbers have been increasing every year since and we are en-route to the projected number of100 liver transplants in 2013.