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Pakistan’s first liver autotransplantation procedure performed at DUHS

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KARACHI: In a first  for Pakistan, the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Karachi, performed a liver autotransplantation procedure successfully.

The liver of a 28-year old patient, who was suffering from cancer, was taken out of the body, the tumor was surgically removed, damaged veins were reconstructed, and the liver was re-implanted in his body, officials said.

After the successful procedure, the patient has begun to recover, DUHS said.

“Our team of liver transplant surgeons has performed one of the most complex and sophisticated procedures, known as liver autotransplantation”, Vice-Chancellor, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Prof Saeed Quraishy said Saturday.

A photo from the liver transplant surgery. — Photo by author

Speaking at a seminar on “Liver, Kidney and Bone Marrow Transplants at DUHS Hospital — Meet the Experts”, organised by the Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman Memorial Society (MKRMS) at the Ojha Campus of the varsity, Prof Quraishy said a 28-year old patient from Zhob town of Balochistan had reported to DUHS and was diagnosed with liver cancer, which had damaged some portion of the liver and some important veins.

“Under the supervision of eminent liver transplant surgeon Prof Dr Faisal Dar, our team of experts including Dr Jahanzeb Hyder, Dr Muhammad Iqbal, and others performed country’s first liver auto-transplantation. Only around 20 such procedures have been performed in the entire world”, he said, adding it is the first such procedure performed anywhere in the country.

He maintained that regular liver transplants were also being carried out despite the COVID-19 pandemic and so far, 6 liver transplants have successfully been done at the DUHS, adding three more liver transplants would be carried out in the next few days for which, work up is underway.

Liver Transplant Surgeon at DUHS Dr Jahanzeb Hyder said Pakistan annually needs hundreds of liver transplants because of liver cancers, and damage due to hepatitis B and C.

He said the liver is the only organ in the human body which can regenerate itself so people can donate parts of their livers to others for saving their lives.

Professor Rashid Bin Hamid, Kidney Transplant Surgeon at the DUHS said in Pakistan around 20,000 to 25,000 patients require kidney transplants as the end-stage renal disease is on the rise but added that only 1000-1200 people have the opportunity to get renal transplants while the remaining patients have to rely on dialysis for their entire life.

Nephrologist Dr Tasaduk Khan said chronic kidney disease was on the rise in the country due to endemic diabetes and hypertension, and poor lifestyle, adding that there were now over 60 million patients with kidney diseases, of whom 50% require dialysis.

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