Wockhardt’s new record: liver transplant on tiny tot

The Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central set a new record in liver transplant surgeries, by performing a liver transplant on a nine-month-old boy, the youngest patient in western India so far. The child, Kavya Raut, was afflicted with Biliary Artesia, a condition where bile cannot flow from the liver to the intestine, since birth. At two months of age, Kavya was underweight and suffered from life-threatening infections and liver cirrhosis. He was operated on June 14.

“Kavya is the youngest child on whom such an operation has been attempted in West India. Usually, paediatric liver transplants are carried out only on children weighing greater than 10 kg due to the complications that arise with smaller patients,” Zahabiya Khorikawala, Managing Director of Wockhardt Hospitals, said.

After a failed surgery at the Nanavati Hospital in October last year, Kavya’s parents, Vivek and Nisha Raut from Boisar in Palghar district, were referred to Dr. Lalit Verma, a Consultant Paediatric Hepatologist at Wockhardt. The transplant was funded entirely by the hospital and patient trusts. Kavya was admitted to the hospital on June 10 this year.

Doctors at the hospital said Nisha was the donor. “We took about 20% of the donor’s liver, but even this 260-gm section was too large for the child. We had to use innovative techniques to reduce it. After this, we removed the entire diseased liver and fitted the new, donor liver. Both the surgeries cumulatively took 21 hours,” said Dr. Anurag Shrimal, Consultant Abdominal Organ Transplantation and HPB surgeon at Wockhardt.

Dr. Shrimal said there were a number of complications and dangers involved in the surgery. “Performing a transplant on a child weighing less than 10 kg is challenging, and even 300 ml of blood loss can be catastrophic. Anesthesia and the post-operation procedure can also be difficult for these patients. There was also the matter of growth. As the recipient is a child, we have to ensure the liver will continue to grow and function in him, which is a delicate process.”

Despite the challenges and the unprecedented nature of the operation, doctors said Kavya is recovering well and has cleared the two-week stage during which most complications occur. “Although he will have to be on immunosuppressant medication indefinitely, he will be able to lead a normal and healthy life,” Dr. Gaurav Gupta, Consultant Abdominal Organ Transplantation and HPB surgeon at Wockhardt, said. “We are thankful to the team. They have taken care of Kavya very well and have even taken care of the cost,” Kavya’s father Vivek said.

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