HCMC's first adult liver transplant successful: doctors

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Doctors at Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, perform the city's first adult liver transplant on Friday

A team of 37 Vietnamese and South Korean doctors successfully performed Ho Chi Minh City's first liver transplant on an adult in a surgery lasting more than 13 hours on Friday.

A Tuoi Tre report Saturday cited the doctors from the city's Cho Ray Hospital and South Korean-owned ASAN Medical Center as saying that the transplant had gained "initial successes."

The liver that Cung Thi Kim Dinh, 52, received from her son, 22-year-old Diep Huu Loc, looked "good" after the surgery, the doctors said. A healthy person can donate 65% of his liver and the rest can cover the loss, according to doctors. And this 65% is enough for the recipient to survive. 

Loc had regained consciousness and was recuperating well, they said.

During the surgery, the doctors found that Dinh had three spleens instead of the normal two. It is said that one in every 100,000 people has the extra spleen an organ that helps filter old and damaged cells from the bloodstream.

Moreover, as a complication of Dinh's liver disease, all the spleens suffered from hypersplenism a disorder where the spleen is overactive, damaging blood cells too early and too quickly, so doctors had to remove all of them.

Dr. Nguyen Tan Cuong, head of the hepatology department at Cho Ray, said that despite the unexpected discovery, the surgery went well, as both the patient and the donor did not bleed much, thanks to advanced equipment and the surgeons' skills.

The Tuoi Tre report said that Dinh has suffered liver problems since 2004 and has been receiving treatment regularly from the Cho Ray hospital. In 2008 doctors advised the family to take her abroad for a liver transplant because her organ was severely damaged.

But the family could not afford such treatment because both D. and her husband are teachers with modest incomes. So they had stayed with Cho Ray doctors in the hope of lengthening her life for as long as they could, until they were offered sponsorship by the hospital and the Health Ministry.

Cho Ray doctors who performed the transplant had received training in the US, Europe and at ASAN a world major liver transplant destination with more than 3,000 transplants conducted successfully so far, according to the news report.

It said the ministry and the hospital would also pay the cost of the city's second transplant, adding that each surgery is estimated to cost more than VND1 billion (US$48,000).

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Ho Chi Minh City to perform first adult liver transplant 

Vietnam has hosted 17 liver transplants among children at the National Hospital of Pediatrics in Hanoi and the Children's Hospital No.2 in Ho Chi Minh City, and six adult transplants at Hospital 103 and Vietnam-Germany Hospital in Hanoi. 

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