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He had cirrhosis of the liver and an “absolute contraindication” to transplantation. “Mother Nature helped”

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It seemed that medicine would no longer help him, and yet a patient with liver cirrhosis and portal vein thrombosis was saved by the Warsaw hospital at Banacha Street. A liver transplant alone would have been useless, but the doctors did something more: they made the new liver receive blood from the kidney.

After the transplant, Mr. Dariusz Bernatek feels so good that he was invited for a short walk in front of the hospital. – I feel great. I think I could run here, says Mr. Dariusz. – I'm going home on Monday, I'm happy about it – he adds.

Doctors threw up their hands

Just a month ago, Mr. Dariusz's life was hanging in the balance because he had liver cirrhosis and thrombosis of the portal vein, which supplies blood to the liver. Thrombosis in this place is almost a certainty. No wonder doctors threw up their hands. – The doctor rejected me because he said they wouldn't help me, says Mr. Dariusz. You cannot transplant a liver into a patient if his portal vein is blocked, because the new liver, like the old, diseased one, would be poorly nourished.

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– Unfortunately, portal vein thrombosis is most often an absolute contraindication to transplantation, where patients die because we are not technically able to perform this procedure. But here, mother nature turned out to be our ally – says Professor Michał Grąt, head of the Department of General, Transplantation and Liver Surgery at the Medical University of Warsaw.

The transplanted liver receives blood from the kidney

– A connection has been created to the vein that normally carries blood from the kidney to the inferior vena cava. We cut off this vein from the inferior vena cava and connected it to the portal vein of the liver – explains Professor Grąt. Thanks to this, blood from the intestines flows through this connection first to the kidney and then to the liver.

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– That is, where it is supposed to go, but also, of course, with blood from the kidney, which does not normally go to the liver, but here the liver is not offended by this blood – says Professor Grąt. The liver transplanted three weeks ago was actually “not offended”. It accepts blood from the kidney and restores the patient's faith in the meaning of life. – Now I feel as if I had a second life – says Mr. Dariusz. – I have someone to live for, I can only wait for my grandchildren – he adds.

The Clinical Hospital on Banacha Street in Warsaw is the largest liver transplant center in Poland and one of the largest liver transplant centers in Europe.

Main photo source: UCK in Warsaw

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