A liver transplant with a difference

A liver transplant with a difference

A cardiac and a live liver transplant were performed in the city recently. But these were no routine transplants as there was no blood transfusion at all.

The reason being the patients were from Jehova's Witnesses, a community which neither accepts nor participates in blood transfusion process. The procedures were performed at Aster CMI and Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru. 

At Aster CMI, where a live donor transplant was done, with one brother donating to another, the family was put through multiple sessions of counselling before the procedure began.

Dr Sonal Asthana, Consultant Liver Transplant Surgeon, said, “In preparation for the surgery, the patient and his brother also had to undergo ‘prehabilitation’ – a process during which the brothers strengthened their haematopoietic system to withstand the surgery without external blood transfusion."

Dr Sonal also said the patients were given iron, various vitamins and erythropoietin to improve their haemoglobin levels supported by regular physiotherapy and nutrition to strengthen their muscles.

In another case, doctors at Manipal Hospitals performed a cardiac procedure from a patient of the same faith.

Dr Devananda NS, HOD and Consultant - Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery, Heart Transplant, Manipal Hospitals said, “In addition to aortic valve leak with heart enlargement, he was also found to have gross enlargement of the aortic root and early part of his aorta, medically called annuloaortic ectasia. This condition requires not only replacement of the aortic valve, but also replacement of the entire aortic root (Bentall Operation)."

After coronary angiography, he was treated for two weeks with iron replacement and erythropoietin injections to build his haemoglobin from 13.5 gm/dL to 14 gm/dL.