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Successful Liver Transplant In Eight Month Old

The child, Rabeeh, suffered from a rare condition called biliary atresia for which he had undergone a surgery earlier which could not cure him.

Read Article in Indian Express

Doctors at VPS Lakeshore Hospital, Kochi, have scripted an amazing feat by successfully performing liver transplantation on an eight-month-old underweight malnourished baby who had underdeveloped lungs and suffered from recurrent infections.

When the baby, Rabeeh, son of Noufal and Jishabi, Nechithadathil, Thirurkkad, Perinthalmanna, came to VPS Lakeshore Hospital, here, in July 2019, he weighed just 6 kgs while a healthy child of his age would normally weigh at least 9 kgs.

Rabeeh had deep jaundice with bilirubin levels 42 times of the normal. He suffered from a rare condition called biliary atresia for which he had undergone a surgery earlier which could not cure him. 

A team of expert doctors of the hospital led by Dr Abhishek Yadav evaluated him and decided that the only possible cure for him was a liver transplantation.

“Liver transplantation on this baby was deemed very risky because in addition to the low weight, the child was also extremely malnourished, had underdeveloped lungs and suffered from recurrent infections,” said Dr Abhishek.

Major challenges for the surgery included finding a piece of liver to fit inside the child’s body and to rid him of the ventilator after a 14-hour-long surgery.

The surgeons surmounted the first challenge by removing a very small part from the left side of the father’s liver and transplanting it into the baby.

“The second problem was trickier to manage. The child needed a long time to gain strength to breathe on its own after the transplantation due to his underdeveloped lungs. It was unthinkable to put the child on ventilator for so long,” said Dr Abhishek.

“Hence after the transplant, we created an artificial passage to the child’s windpipe by a procedure called a tracheostomy, to enable the child to breathe easily.  It is difficult to carry out tracheostomy in infants because of their small and underdeveloped windpipes.”However, we overcame the challenge in this case. After the surgery the child was required to be on the ventilator for 89 days till he gained enough strength to be disconnected from the ventilator and breath on his own,” said the doctor.

The family was all smiles along with the team of doctors and hospital staff who joined hands perform the surgery.

Rabeeh was finally discharged after celebrating his first birthday inside the ICU while still being connected to a ventilator.

The team of doctors who took care of Rabeeh’s case included Dr Abhishek Yadav, Director  Comprehensive Liver Care Institute at VPS Lakeshore Hospital, Dr Maya Peethambaran, hepatologist, Dr Mohan Mathew and Dr Nita from the department of Anesthesia and Critical care and Neonatologist Dr Satheesh Kumar.

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Dr. Abhishek Yadav is a well known gastrointestinal, liver diseases and liver transplant specialist with more than 10 years of clinical experience in managing patients with complex surgical problems of the liver and gastrointestinal tract.

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