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Manipuri gets gift of liver on Diwali

New Delhi: For R K Shivdas, this Diwali could not have been more special. The 49-year-old Manipur resident, who required an urgent liver transplant, recently got a gift of life at a city private hospital when doctors performed the life-saving procedure on him by overriding the crisis of unavailability of a suitable blood donor.

Shivdas could find a compatible organ donor in his family but failed to get blood required for transfusion because he had antibodies against multiple blood groups, including his own A+. “This type of high level of antibodies against antigens of its own blood group is extremely rare and, to our knowledge, this is the first case of allo-antibodies patient undergoing successful liver transplantation in the country,” said Dr Anil Arora, chairman, transplant hepatology and gastroenterology department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

More than 300 A+ blood bags from major blood banks and hospitals, including AIIMS, Red Cross and Lions Club, were screened to find a cross-matching blood. “We could find only 10 units that did not have any adverse reaction,” Arora said.

But the problem did not end there. Doctors said since the patient was reacting to A+ blood, performing liver transplant operation even from A+ donor (compatible organ donor) could have led to fatal consequences. Multipronged strategy involving reducing antibodies by washing the patient’s blood plasma repeatedly and administering immuno-suppressive therapy was followed to deal with risk of antibody reaction, said Dr Naimish Mehta, the liver transplant surgeon. The transplant was performed on Wednesday.

“We had to perform the transplant with utmost care to avoid excessive bleeding as only 10 units of safely transfusable blood were available. Second challenge was to place the graft in the patient with unacceptable cross-match,” Mehta said.