Kottayam MCH performs first paediatric liver transplant in govt sector

The recipient of this life-saving procedure is a five-year-old, whose 25-year-old mother donated a portion of her liver. Mother and child are reported to be stable and are currently recovering.
Kottayam Medical College.
Kottayam Medical College. (File photo)

KOTTAYAM: The Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) in Kottayam has achieved a significant milestone by performing the first-ever paediatric liver transplant in the government sector. The recipient of this life-saving procedure is a five-year-old, whose 25-year-old mother donated a portion of her liver. Mother and child are reported to be stable and are currently recovering.

Dr R S Sindhu, head of surgical gastroenterology at MCH, led the surgery which began at 6am and concluded at 10.30 pm on Friday. The child was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare condition in infants that causes scarring and blockage of the bile ducts inside and outside the liver.

The procedure marks a significant achievement for the MCH as it is only the second government hospital in India, after the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in Delhi, to successfully perform paediatric liver transplantation.

Dr Sindhu attributed the success to the collaborative efforts of various departments. “Performing a liver transplant on a child carries inherent risks, but in cases of congenital diseases like biliary atresia, it is often the only viable treatment option,” she said.

The recipient and donor have both been removed from ventilator support, with the child expected to remain in intensive care for observation for at least three weeks. The true success of the transplant will be determined after the highest risk period has passed, as acute cellular rejection (ACR) can occur within five to 30 days post-transplantation, or even later, according to experts.

The team included anaesthesia department head Dr Latha, Dr Jayaprakash from the paediatrics department, and Dr Sajitha from the radiology department. In addition to local medical staff, two doctors from the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi — Dr Sudheendran and Dr Unnikrishnan — joined forces to support the transplant team.

Health Minister Veena George commended the team. She expressed her admiration for the rare achievement, emphasising that such procedures, especially live transplantations, are uncommon in government medical colleges across the country. “Heartfelt congratulations to Dr Sindhu and the entire team for their expertise and dedication in completing this highly complex surgery,” the minister posted on her Facebook page.

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