Rare achievement: Chennai doctors perform live-donor liver transplant on comatose COVID patient

Last Updated: Thursday, 10 June 2021 (19:34 IST)
Chennai: on Thursday announced that it has successfully performed an emergency on a 26-year-old COVID-infected patient who was battling fulminant liver failure.

It is reported to be the World’s first emergency living donor live transplant for an acute liver failure patient with SARS COVID-19 positivity, Dr.Thiagarajan Srinivasan, Director, Institute of Liver Diseases, Transplant and HPB surgery, MGM Healthcare, said at a virtual press conference.
 
He said the patient Raghul Gandhi, a national level Kabaddi player from Puducherry developed acute liver failure and his condition worsened due to sudden onset of jaundice.
 
He slipped into deep coma within two days after being diagnosed with the disease and had little hope left when he was shifted to MGM Healthcare here.
 
The situation was further complicated when he tested COVID positive and the only positive sign was that his tests did not show any lung involvement in the chest CT scan.
 
“We took up the challenge to do the emergency liver transplant keeping in mind the complicated nature of the patient’s condition,” Dr. Thiagarajan Srinivasan said.
 
A liver transplant is only performed on COVID-free end stage liver disease patient or 4-5 weeks post COVID recovery with two successive negative RTPCR tests.
 
In Raghul’s case, it was a critical situation and the transplant had to be done within 24 hours or else he would have lost his life.
 
“Our rapid liver failure response team swung into action and his condition was first stabilized with emergency ventilation under PPE protocol. He was then moved to a secluded ICU in accordance with all COVID protocols as he underwent continuous plasma purification, toxin filtration and liver dialysis”, he said.
 
He said “Our biggest hindrance came in the form of very limited functioning of cadaveric organ donation system with only one liver donation in the month of May in the entire state of Tamil Nadu.”
 
“We came up with an innovative solution of emergency related living donor liver transplant in which a part of donor’s liver is transplanted after removal of the diseased liver”, he said.
 
In Raghul’s case, two of his family members who were staying with him also tested COVID positive. But luckily his brother, who stays 200 km away from the city, came to his rescue.
 
He came to the hospital, returned COVID negative with good SARS COVID antibody titre which means he had been exposed to COVID infection but had recovered completely from it.
 
Dr.Karthik Mathivanan, Associate Director, Liver Transplant Surgeon said, “The transplant workup procedure which normally takes three to four weeks was accelerated at a rapid pace with a 50-member team working round the clock and managed to complete the workup in a record six hours.” (UNI)