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Warsaw. Pioneering surgery at WUM. Patient had a liver fragment transplanted, then removed

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The first supportive liver transplant in the world was performed at the University Clinical Center of the Medical University of Warsaw. A patient injured in an accident received a fragment of a donor liver for 11 days, during which her own organ was rebuilt. Then the transplanted organ could be removed.

– In short, the innovation was that the patient had a liver transplant, and she went home without the transplanted liver, in excellent condition. This does not happen under standard conditions – said Professor Michał Grąt, head of the General, Transplant and Liver Surgery Clinic of the University Clinical Center of the Medical University of Warsaw and national consultant in the field of clinical transplantology.

As Prof. Grąt said, most of the patient's liver was damaged and had to be removed, and the remaining fragment of the organ was too small for her to survive.

– Until now, patients had a whole liver transplant and had to live with the transplanted liver for the rest of their lives – noted Prof. Grąt. In this case, in order to give the remaining part of the patient's organ time to regenerate, the doctors decided on a so-called supportive transplant.

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They transplanted a lobe of the liver, then removed it.

The professor reported that the patient had only one of the liver lobes from the deceased donor transplanted. He added that 11 days after the transplant, the preserved fragment of the organ – supported by the transplanted part – had grown three times and it was possible to remove the fragment of the donor organ.

As explained by Prof. Grąt, thanks to this operation, the woman “does not have to take immunosuppressive drugs (including those preventing transplant rejection – ed.), because she has not had a transplanted liver”. He noted that the patient also avoided many other complications that would be associated with a classic transplant.

Pioneering liver transplant at the Medical University of WarsawWUM

– We have created a completely new surgical strategy for patients with the most severe liver injuries – he said when asked about the results of his surgery for other patients. – On the other hand, it also gives a chance to introduce supportive liver transplants in Poland also for patients with acute liver failure, for patients with cancer, and further pushes the limits of our capabilities – he assessed.

According to the professor, such transplants will also help to solve the problem of organ shortage. – One divided liver gives two patients a chance to survive – he emphasized.

Patient surprised. “I feel normal”

The patient who underwent the transplant told journalists that although she had been thoroughly informed about the operation, she was not fully aware of its groundbreaking nature. She emphasized that she was surprised that she was the first patient in the world to undergo such a transplant.

She added that the decision to undergo the surgery was associated with great fear, but she knows she had no other choice. “I feel normal, like a normal person – before May 29,” she said, informing that she has no dietary restrictions.

Main image source: WUM

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