6 Bengaluru children overcome challenges to receive critical liver transplant during lockdown

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 25 (ANI): In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown, six children suffering from end-stage liver disease, overcame all challenges to receive life-saving critical liver transplants at Aster RV Hospital here.

March 25, 2021


6 min


Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 25 (ANI): In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown, six children suffering from end-stage liver disease, overcame all challenges to receive life-saving critical liver transplants at Aster RV Hospital here.
With Covid-19 pandemic bringing everything to a stand-still and healthcare resources focused on beating the deadly coronavirus, the Integrated Liver Care (ILC) team at Aster RV Hospital went an extra mile to ensure that these six children aged between 3 to 10 years received life-saving liver transplants which have been 100 per cent successful.
In Bengaluru city, very limited organ transplants were conducted due to the pandemic.
In addition to the ILC team’s support, guidance and assurance, hospital subsidy towards the transplant, corporate social responsibility funding from industry and crowdfunding came as rays of hope for the families of all six children during the pandemic as they were all unaffordable.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to a tune of Rs 20 lakh, hospital subsidy to a total of Rs 25 lakh and a cumulative amount of Rs 75 Lakh was raised through crowdfunding efforts to help support these families.
Rajiv Lochan, Lead Consultant – HPB and Transplant Surgeon, Aster RV Hospital said that “We call this model our Affordable Liver Transplant programme.”
“Limited scope of travel, unavailability of deceased donor organ donations since the start of the pandemic and logistical challenges with respect to the arrangement of funds were some of the factors which made it difficult for patients to undergo critical organ transplantation surgeries,” said Lochan.
He further added, “For patients afflicted with liver disease or acute liver issues, delaying a transplant can have a direct impact on their life expectancy and is very risky. However, we had to balance the risk of the Covid-19 infection with the benefit of the treatment and this involved complex logistics which the team was able to organise.”
Organ donation and transplantation witnessed a significant drop since the start of the pandemic as all the hospital ICUs were fully occupied and there were regulatory changes that affected organ donation too.
Unlike kidney-related complications where people have the option of depending on a dialysis machine, for organ transplants of the liver, heart or lungs, many patients do not have the option of waiting.
During these difficult times, the onus is on the healthcare providers to accommodate as many critical patients as possible, while maintaining all Covid-19 protocols and also ensuring that other standard operating processes of the organ transplantation process are being strictly adhered to.
“The option of living donor transplants helped us to perform these emergency surgeries for the little ones. Our Affordable Liver Transplant model is an innovative means of ensuring that life-saving transplants are made affordable for all. It is an absolute joy to see them recover well and get back on their feet. The children and their donors and families are the heroes of the pandemic and show us that the human spirit can overcome the most difficult of trials and tribulations,” noted Lochan.
The mother of Bhuvi Darshka, one of the youngest children who underwent a liver transplant in Bangalore last year, said, “We were scared when we got to know about our daughter’s condition and we wanted to do the transplant for her as soon as possible. I was an eligible donor and we were prepared for the surgery. Then the pandemic hit and we did not know what to do. The doctors at Aster RV were very calm and explained things to me clearly. We finally underwent the surgery in April 2020 and now we are completely fine.”
Living donor Liver transplant in children is one of the most challenging treatments that modern medicine is able to offer. The complex physiology of children, the technical challenges of the operation, care of the living liver donor all involve a synergistic multidisciplinary approach which results in the best outcome in these challenging problems.
“The liver is a crucial organ that manages multiple functions in the body, including waste management, metabolism, healing, blood clotting etc. When the liver function is affected by the disease, it can lead to severe symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, tremors, swelling in the legs, confusion, mood changes, etc which can affect the child’s growth and is very difficult for the child to cope with,” said Chetan Ginigeri, Lead Paediatric Intensivist, Aster Hospitals Bangalore.
The Integrated Liver Care team at Aster has conducted more than 98 pediatric liver transplants and more than 500 adult liver transplants since its inception. (ANI)

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