Updated: August 5, 2021 6:38:45 pm
An 84-old-year Mumbai woman, who died of age-related problems, has given a new lease of life to a critically ill man from Pune.
The woman’s family agreed to donate her liver and two kidneys after she suffered fatal bleeding in the brain. Harvesting organs from older people is rare, doctors said.
Dr Ravi Mohanka, Chief Surgeon and Head of Department of Liver Transplant & Hepato-Biliary Surgery at Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai, said, “The donation of an 84-year-old lady’s liver is among the rare few cases. And especially when it comes to the liver. But it should be borne in mind that the liver has no cutoff point like other organs of the body. If a liver is healthy, it can be donated even in case of elderly citizens,” he said.
The recipient, a 63-year-old man, was suffering from liver failure in addition to liver cirrhosis due to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe type of fatty liver. He has registered for a cadaveric liver transplant about a year ago. “During this waiting period, despite best medical care, his liver disease progressed with Infection in the abdomen, worsening kidney function…,” doctors said.
The kidneys were donated to other patients.
On July 20, the family stepped forward to donate her organs after she was declared brain dead. “The family’s wishes were conveyed to zonal transplant coordination committee (ZTCC), who allocated the liver to 63-year-old as per their standard allocation policy. When the patient was offered the liver, he readily agreed to accept from the elderly donor. Despite the age, the donor’s liver function tests were normal and the ultrasonography also showed a normal liver. He underwent an uneventful transplant lasting 8 hours, recovered well postoperatively and was discharged on day 11,” doctors said.
Dr Mohankar said with improving health infrastructure, life expectancy and public awareness the likelihood of elderly individuals as possible organ donors is increasing. “The liver is one of only two organs in our body which have the ability to regenerate, the other being skin. Hence even in elderly donors, the liver functions do not deteriorate much if the individual does not have any other illness,” he said.
The patient who received the liver has been discharged from the hospital and is in fine health. Dr Mohanka said, “After the transplantation, five days are crucial for the patient. In this case, the patient’s condition did not deteriorate. He remained stable and was discharged after 10 days. Now, he can live his normal life.”
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