Pune’s first ABO-Incompatible Liver Transplant Successfully Performed  

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Pune, 11th August 2023: Liver transplantation has long been a life-saving option for patients battling end-stage liver diseases and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Traditionally, ABO compatibility between the donor and recipient has been a crucial prerequisite for a successful transplant. 

However, a pioneering case performed by the medical team led by Dr. Bipin Vibhute, Head of Liver and Multi-organ Transplant Department at Sahyadri Hospitals, Pune has recently captivated the medical community—the first ABO-incompatible liver transplant in a patient.

This case involved a 52-year-old auto-rickshaw driver residing in Solapur, Maharashtra, who was diagnosed with HCV infection, cirrhosis, and HCC (A type of Liver Cancer) who required a liver transplant to combat the disease. However, finding a compatible donor proved challenging, leading the medical team to explore the concept of ABO-incompatible living donor liver transplantation. His 25-year-old daughter who is a nurse bravely stepped forward as the living donor despite her blood type being incompatible with her father’s. In this case, the patient was blood type O, while his daughter who donated the liver, was blood type A.

The ABO-incompatible liver transplantation was successfully performed after an extensive preoperative preparation and coordination among the multidisciplinary team. The primary challenge was overcoming the immune response triggered by the mismatched blood types and preventing rejection of the transplanted liver. The medical team devised a comprehensive pre-transplant immunosuppressive protocol. This protocol included giving injections to reduce antibody-forming cells and plasmapheresis sessions to remove anti-A antibodies, followed by plasmapheresis, and a combination of immunosuppressive drugs.

Postoperative monitoring revealed excellent liver function. Post-transplant, a combination of immunosuppressive drugs was administered to prevent organ rejection successfully. The ABO-incompatible liver transplantation proved to be a resounding success, with the patient showing excellent liver function in postoperative monitoring.

Dr. Bipin Vibhute, Head of Liver and Multi-organ Transplant Department at Sahyadri Hospitals, who played a crucial role in this liver transplant, expressed his satisfaction with the successful procedures, stating, “This remarkable breakthrough highlights the possibility of broadening the donor pool, instilling hope in numerous patients confronted with restricted donor availability. The success of the ABO-incompatible liver transplant underscores the significance of ongoing research and innovation in transplantation medicine, as novel techniques and immunosuppressive strategies can revolutionize the field, ultimately benefiting patients urgently in need of life-saving organ transplants.”

Sahyadri Hospital remains committed to researching innovative techniques and immunosuppressive strategies that hold the potential to transform the field of transplantation medicine, bringing profound benefits to patients in dire need of life-saving organ transplants. This celebration marks a significant milestone, illuminating a promising future for our patients battling end-stage liver disease and HCC, ushering in more accessible and life-saving liver transplant procedures.