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Pune has conducted 200 liver transplant surgeries since 2013

Earlier, around 40 per cent of them died waiting for an organ, but now the same has increased by 20 per cent

pune Updated: Dec 26, 2018 16:24 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Apollo Hospitals,Hyderabad
even though we need stronger studies to estimate the number of people surviving post transplant, we can safely estimate that this rate has improved by 10 to 15 per cent in the last few years(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATION PURPOSES ONLY)

Even though the survival rate of liver transplant patients has improved by 10 to 15 per cent, the rise in patients succumbing to liver diseases while waiting for a ‘probable liver’ has increased. Experts estimated that around 60 per cent of the patients who listed for the liver organ transplant die waiting for their turn. The average waiting time for getting a liver has increased from six months to one or two years now.

Dr Manish Varma, programme director, liver transplant, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad and head of liver transplant in city-based Ruby Hall Clinic, Jehangir and Sassoon hospital, said, “Even though we are seeing many patients coming forward to get their transplant done, we are also seeing many succumbing to their illness as well. Reason being that they mainly wait for their turn to get a donor and by the time they get one they are either vulnerable or die waiting. Earlier, around 40 per cent of them died waiting for an organ, but now the same has increased by 20 per cent, which means around 60 per cent of them are dying only because of the huge waiting list and lack of donors.”

He said, “Sadly, even though we have done as many as 200 liver transplants since 2013 in Pune, we are seeing many dying due to non-availability of the organ. It is also due to lack of donors as not every patient can wait for a cadaver and hence, the mortality rate has increased. Not many hospitals are comfortable in performing a liver donor transplant fearing legalities.”

Similarly, Dr Sharan Narute, liver transplant and gastrointestinal surgeon at Jupiter hospital, said, “As many as sixty per cent of the people are dying due to lack of availability of the liver organ.”

Also, positively, even though we need stronger studies to estimate the number of people surviving post transplant, we can safely estimate that this rate has improved by 10 to 15 per cent in the last few years. Earlier, hardly 80 to 85 per cent people survived for one year after the transplant, but now it is more than 90 per cent, said Narute.

This was seconded by Dr Varma, who said, “The survival rate of patients depends on hospitals and multi-disciplinary approach towards them post the transplant surgery. However, we have seen an improvement by over 15 per cent in patients surviving after the surgery. Around 97 per cent live for one year and around 85 per cent survive till five years post surgery, which was not the case earlier.”

Besides increase in survival rate and patients succumbing to the illness while waiting fore their turn, Varma also said that, “The incidence rate of liver disease has gone up by six times in the last five years and there is a major shift in the aetiology of this disease. Earlier we saw many patients getting diagnosed because of liver cirrhosis caused due to alcoholism but now it is mainly due to fatty liver that is non-alcoholic. Liver disease was mainly linked to alcohol or hepatitis but now more than 50 per cent of all the cases we see are due to fatty liver disease or non-alcoholic or non-infectious liver disease. The main reason for such a change and increase in non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) needing transplants is mainly due to sedentary lifestyle, obesity and genetic causes which are avoidable. These all become probable transplant recipients in future adding to the waiting list,” Varma explained.

Such chronic stage and vulnerability can be avoided if lifestyle changes are made and co-morbidities like obesity and metabolic disorders are avoided, said both the experts citing, “awareness is the only way to prevent liver diseases that are fatal for any human being.”

First Published: Dec 26, 2018 16:23 IST