PUNE: A city-based hospital undertook the first paediatric living liver transplant surgery for a 17-year-old boy. The boy was diagnosed with a rare disease called ‘Wilson’s disease,’ which causes too much copper to accumulate in vital organs. The aunt of the patient donated him the live liver.
The 17-year-old started showing symptoms like constant swelling in hands and feet, episodes of nose bleeding and burning sensation in eyes and was later diagnosed with the Wilson’s disease.
Explaining about Wilson’s disease, Dr Bipin Vibhute, Liver Transplant and Haepatobiliary Surgeon at Sahyadri Hospital, where the patient was treated, said that typically, Wilson’s disease is an inherited condition that causes the body to retain excess copper.
“The liver does not release copper into bile as it should. As the copper builds up in the liver, it begins to damage the organ. The liver then releases the copper directly into the bloodstream, which carries it throughout the body. The copper buildup leads to a damage in the kidneys, brain and eyes. If not treated, Wilson’s disease can cause severe brain damage, liver failure and eventually death. Often, an otherwise apparently normal child can suffer with life threatening acute liver failure in this setting, warranting urgent liver transplantation,” said Vibhute.
Dr Dinesh Zirpe, Liver Transplant and GI Surgeon at the hospital, who treated the patient, said, “When the 17-year-old and his family came to visit us, his health was already deteriorating. He had a bleeding nose, abdominal swelling, loss of balance and joint ache, which were symptoms of Wilson’s disease. Thankfully, the boy’s aunt had a matching blood group and she was found fit for organ donation after complete liver assessment.”
“The transplantation surgery was conducted recently and lasted for 10 hours. Considering his young age and multi-system involvement, this was a high-risk procedure. But because of advance precision, he was discharged on the seventh day,” said Zirpe.