2nd ever adult liver transplant in Vietnam metro successful

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Doctors in Ho Chi Minh City Wednesday said the recipient of only the second ever liver transplant  done on an adult in the city is doing well.

Doctors at Cho Ray Hospital, one of the country's premier medical centers, said the 50-year-old man would possibly be discharged this week, more than a month after the surgery.

The first transplant had been done nearly a year ago, but the patient died soon afterwards.

On August 15 the hospital's doctors and experts from South Korea transplanted two-thirds of the liver from the patient's 18-year-old son.

The surgery took more than 12 hours and the son was discharged after 12 days.

According to the doctors, the patient was in the last stages of cirrhosis, a chronic disease of the liver in which healthy cells are replaced by scar tissue.

He was hospitalized in a delirious state.

HCMC's first-ever adult liver transplant was also performed at Cho Ray with the help of doctors from the same Korean hospital -- ASAN -- in October last year.

A 53-year-old woman who received a part of her 22-year-old son's liver died two months later due to bleeding in her digestive tract.

It was not clear if the bleeding was related to the surgery.

Vietnam's first adult liver transplant took place at Vietnam-Germany Hospital in Hanoi in 2007.

Around 45 liver transplants have been done so far in Vietnam.

Dr Nguyen Tan Cuong of the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy told Thanh Nien News that a liver is the most difficult of any organ to transplant, and much more difficult to perform on adults.

Dr Pham Huu Thien Chi, deputy head of Cho Ray's liver-bile-pancreas department, said the demand for liver transplants is high in Vietnam but is rarely done due to the cost -- of about VND1.5 billion (US$71,000) -- and shortage of donors.


The liver can be obtained from either living or brain-dead people, but it is usually difficult to find a suitable donor, Chi said.

For years experts have pointed out Vietnamese people's reluctance to donate dead people's organs due to the strong belief that people must be intact when buried.

An estimated 1,500 people are awaiting liver transplants in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Health.

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