Same liver saves two children in Rome

Same liver saves two children in Rome
28 August 2015

Rome (ANSA) - A one-year-old girl and a sixteen-year-old boy were both the recipients of a liver transplanted from the same donor.

The complex surgery, splitting the organ in two, was successfully carried out at Rome's Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital. Both patients were in critical condition and in need of a transplant and confronted with the decision of choosing one of the two once the liver became available, the doctors decided to perform the surgery on both. "It was a risky choice forced upon us by the seriousness of the situation with both patients in critical conditions competing for the same transplant. They are both well now and they will probably leave the pediatric hospital in the next few days" said doctor Jean de Ville, director of the hospital's surgical department.

The double liver transplant represented both a risk and an opportunity. "It's rare to be able to use the same organ, at the same time, for two children, giving both the opportunity to recover and live a full life".

Usually when a donor-organ comes on the transplant-radar priority is given to the patient in the worse clinical condition, but in this case, the two children were both in a critical situation. "Luckily," - added de Ville - "their difference in age and weight allowed us to use the same liver for both and we proceeded with the transplant from the deceased donor". The division of a liver for transplant use for two different patients is a consolidated technique in Italy, where the practice has been widely employed. "The most common path in these cases is to use the right side of the liver for an adult patient and the left side (the smaller one) for a child", de Ville explained.

Seventeen liver transplants have been carried out at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital since the beginning of the year, ten of which from a living donor, the highest number ever recorded in Italy.

Source: ANSA