Vizag equals London in liver transplant
The results of liver transplantation LT being good, is not just a number Till now treatment of patients with advanced cirrhosis was medicines with limited effectiveness and symptom control
Visakhapatnam: The results of liver transplantation (LT) being good, is not just a number. Till now treatment of patients with advanced cirrhosis was medicines with limited effectiveness and symptom control. Such a high success rate completely changes the outcomes of thousands of patients with end stage liver disease from a slow lingering death sentence, to a fantastically normal life, in most transplant recipients.
Having achieved a consistently superb (93.55%) success rate for such a high profile operation, we held an interview with Prof Tom Cherian, Director of the Vizag liver transplant programme at Care Hospital, to find the reasons behind such an outstanding achievement. Started in 2015, the liver unit at Care, Vizag also boasts the maximum number of liver transplants to date in the new state. It’s chief surgeon and director Prof Tom Cherian, was the first to perform a Liver Transplant in a Government hospital in the combined Andhra State, in Osmania Hospital, Hyderabad and more recently was the first to perform a living donor liver transplant in Andhra Pradesh.
Why should we take liver disease so seriously?
Of all diseases in the world like for e.g. Heart disease, lung disease, Cancers etc. liver disease is the only one that is rising and out of control. It's not just rising, but also exponentially increasing to now being a pandemic. Just 3 liver diseases (Fatty liver, Viral hepatitis and Liver cancer) create over 400 million patients in India alone. Of these over 50 million are children. An overall number of over 320,000 deaths approximately are attributed to liver disease in India every year. NO other disease group has such alarming statistics! So all of us and especially the health department must take aggressive steps to curtail the growth of this malaise before our health care system becomes unable to cope with the burden of disease.
So what would you say are the key reasons for such a result?
Grace of god! In addition to the above, without which nothing of significance is possible, the most important reason for this success is the dedication of my liver team. Their training has been extensive, with no expense being spared, and exclusive to the liver including the nursing staff, dietitians etc. Of course the meticulous planning that we undertake for EACH & EVERY patient has helped, leading to careful patient selection. Needless to say, the single most important criterion for good outcomes is precise & excellent surgical technique without ANY doubt. After surgery, outcomes can still be compromised if we do not have superb anesthesia & ICU care.
Of what are you most proud?
I am proud of the fact that despite ours being a NEW liver unit, we have still managed to achieve outcomes that are equal to world famous, 30-year-old, well established liver transplant centers, such as King’s College in London. Moreover, we achieved these outcomes despite having very sick patients with high MELD scores (a marker of severity of liver disease) on our waiting list, in a country known to have a high infection rates, malnutrition and limited infrastructure.
Who are the people who have contributed to your success?
The patients who consented to this risky process and put their faith in us! Really!! Of course, I feel my colleagues in the state & city; especially the senior gastro-enterologists like Dr Sathya Narayan, who entrusted me with the care of their patients are a vital part of this success story too. The other group who played a crucial role is the anesthesia and critical care
Team at Care Hospital headed by Mohan Maharaj, Biswaroop Pal, Dr Rani, Dr David and Dr Anuradha. My team of young surgeons like Dr Parmesh, & transplant coordinators (Sai), liver nurses (Elsie, Latha & Vijaya) made my life very easy and the work enjoyable.