Liver transplant not just for the rich

Liver transplant, a boon for liver diseases, has become only a rich man’s approach for the cure due to the cost involved in the process.

Despite the high price, many middle-class patients have managed to get the transplant done at private hospitals in the city.

Pradeep N (28), had suffered liver failure due to the side effects of antitubercular therapy.

“I lost a lot of weight after the liver failed and went into a coma. The only way out was a liver transplant at the earliest. One of the cousins donated a part of his liver. Though we got some discount, the cost was huge. My parents had to sell one of our properties, and we managed to pay Rs 43 lakh bill,” Pradeep said.

Similarly, Prema Prasad (47), a housewife from Tumakuru, was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. Due to a sudden flare in the disease, she slipped into a coma. Her 23-year-old daughter donated a part of her liver to save her mother.

“Liver transplant is expensive. It costed us about Rs 50 lakh for the entire process. Coming from a middle class family, our relatives helped us and somehow we managed to get the transplant done,” Prema said.

Explaining the reason why a liver transplant is expensive, Dr Sanjay Govil, senior consultant in liver transplant, said a liver transplant cost depends completely on the patient’s condition.

“If the patient’s reports show less risk then the cost can be worked out depending on days of stay in the hospital and number of follow-ups. Again cadaver donation is expensive compared to living donors. The UW (University of Wisconsin) solution used to store the harvested liver itself is very expensive for Indian conditions,” added Dr Govil.

He said if a liver failure patient’s only option is to undergo a transplant, it is better the family decides on transplantation at the earliest rather than wait and postpone it.

200 transplants done

Gleneagles Global Hospitals completed 200 liver transplant, highest in the state in the span of nine years with 93% success rate. According to the recipients’ record, about 186 patients are surviving, and of them, 165 were male with most of them have a compromised liver condition due to alcoholism. About 60% of the transplantation happened through live donors and the rest through cadaver donations. Most of the patients were from North Karnataka, Mandya and Mysuru.

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