Dutch perform first ‘living’ liver transplant
12 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — A living 53-year-old woman has donated a large part of her liver to save the life of her brother. It is the first time that such an operation has been performed in the Netherlands.
The operation — performed at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam — carries a large risk to both donor and recipient.
Several countries — including Germany, the US and Japan — have been conducting such operations for some time. Foreign statistics indicate that one out of very 100 people die as a result of the operation. There is also the risk of serious complications, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported on Wednesday.
The transplant was performed last week by a team of 12 surgeons, anaesthetists, liver specialists and assistants. News of the operation was withheld until this week because medics wished to see whether both patients would recover from the 12-hour operation.
The 51-year-old man and his sister have been out of the intensive care ward for several days. Despite the fact there are always complications after a liver transplant, the operation has been declared a success, news service NOS reported.
The Netherlands’ first liver transplant involving a living donor has been delayed for several years because the Dutch Health Council (Nederlandse Gezondheidsraad) and other medical organisations refused to approve the procedure.
Erasmus Medical Centre doctors have been preparing for the operation for the past four years and one of the surgeons underwent intensive training in special operation techniques in Japan and Germany.
“Due to the risks for the donor, this procedure is not ideal,” professor and Erasmus transplant surgeon Dr. H. Tilanus said.
“But there are simply too few organs available in the Netherlands. Therefore liver patients are still frequently dying while waiting for a transplant.”
The Erasmus Medical Centre expects to perform 10 liver transplant operations involving a living patient each year. The second operation is planned for June.
There are about 50 patients in Rotterdam and between 120 and 130 patients nation-wide awaiting a liver transplant in the Netherlands. A large number of them are in such bad health that they could die at any moment.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news