Innovation in Liver Transplant at Apollo Hospital cuts down the cost drastically

October 21, 2006   Health News
(PRLEAP.COM) Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi with its long tradition of liver transplantation has now introduced an innovation to decrease the cost of liver transplant substantially. In this major development, taking the cue from investigators in Hong Kong, doctors at Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi have now successfully transplanted the liver of Dr. Humayun Kabir who is a public health doctor in Bangladesh without using expensive hepatitis B immunoglobulins.

Worldwide Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C affects millions who if not treated in time will end up with cirrhosis. Currently there exists an effective vaccine for hepatitis B virus infection. However, the vaccine is ineffective when the patient has developed hepatitis B related liver disease. If these patients progress to chronic liver disease, they will require a liver transplant to save their life. In these circumstances, normally the recipient has to be on expensive hepatitis B immunoglobulins life long to prevent recurrence of disease.

For this new treatment to be successful, the transplant team at Apollo Hospitals had to use a three-step procedure. Speaking on the occasion, liver transplant surgeon, Dr. Subash Gupta said, “First we had to stop viral replication in the recipient. Dr. Kabir came to India in the month of September and was put on strong antiviral drugs. His blood was tested after six weeks and he was found to be Hepatitis B DNA negative. Simultaneously his brother was vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine and when his antibody titres were adequate, he donated half his liver for his brother's transplant. Although the risk of recurrence is low by this method still Dr. Kabir will need to be on antiviral drugs lifelong.”

The transplant team led by Dr. Subash Gupta carried out the transplant operation. Both the donor and the recipient are overjoyed and Dr. Kabir is looking forward to returning to Bangladesh before Id. He plans to approach his job of a public health doctor with renewed zeal. He said he would now lead a campaign to eradicate hepatitis B infection by public health education and vaccination of high-risk individuals.

Dr. Anupam Sibal, Director Medical Services, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals added, “With this approach the cost of liver transplant could be brought down from 25 lacs to 15 lacs. Liver transplantation is the only cure for advanced liver cirrhosis. Unfortunately many patients are not able to afford the cost of liver transplantation. Therefore it is important to use innovative methods to make transplantation is more accessible.”

The Liver Transplantation Program at Liver Transplant Unit in Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, is not only one of the country's most sophisticated program but it has also made global footprints with numerous overseas patients seeking it's services round the year. Liver transplants started in 1998 and Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals did the first successful liver transplant.

About Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, India’s first Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospital, is a joint venture between the Government of Delhi and Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited. Built over an area of 15 acres with a covered area of 600,000 square feet, it houses 57 specialties with over 300 specialists and has 695 operational beds, 19 operation theatres, 138 ICU beds, 24 hour Emergency Services, round the clock pharmacy, NABL accredited laboratories and a provision for air ambulance service. Apollo Hospitals blood bank is the first and the only one in the country to introduce the NAT testing of the blood to improve blood testing. The hospital has recently joined hands with Johns Hopkins Medicine to jointly work on research and help in setting up centers of excellence in various tertiary care medical specialties.