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Indian Doctors Connect Heart & Liver to Save 21-Year-Old Suffering From a Rare Genetic Disease

A team of doctors in Gurugram has implemented a novel surgery technique to save the life of a 21-year-old patient suffering from a rare disease known as Budd-Chiari syndrome.

Doctors at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, connected the patient’s heart and liver in a complex transplant.

surgery-880584Image for representation. Source: Pixabay

When 21-year-old Bnar Satar Mala arrived in India late last year, she has given up on life. The Iranian national had been suffering since 2014, afflicted by discolouration, severe pain in her arms, and swelling in her limbs and abdomen. “I would feel nauseous at the mention of food, I could barely eat and often throw up soon after,” she said, according to an FMRI report.

Budd-Chiari syndrome leads to blood clots, obstructing the blood flow to the liver. Only a handful of cases have been reported around the world, and the disorder is believed to affect only one in a million.


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The FMRI team of surgeons was led by Dr. Vivek Vij, Director, Liver Transplant, who conducted the surgery towards the end of 2016.

Dr Vivek said about the operation, “Her (Bnar) IVC was completely blocked and she required a lot of blood transfusion during the surgery. The affected liver was removed and a part of the liver was taken from her brother and transplanted in the patient. In this case, the challenge was to suture the liver “directly” to the heart as the patient’s native IVC was completely blocked. In order to suture the liver as close to the heart as possible, the heart had to be pulled down into the abdominal cavity. We decided not to open the recipient’s chest and instead pulled the heart down through a narrow gap made in the diaphragm separating the chest and the abdomen.”

The surgery reduced the risk of infection and also avoided leaving any major scarring on Bar’s chest area. The case marks another milestone for liver transplantation, which according to FMRI is “currently in its golden period in India.”

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