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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Experts emphasize importance of raising awareness for child organ donations in split liver donation cases

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Paediatric Organ Donations on the Rise in Telangana

Organ donations have been increasing in Telangana, with the state being recognized as one of the best performers in this area. However, there is a lack of paediatric organ donations despite the growing need for liver and intestinal transplants in children. According to statistics from the Jeevandan Organ Donation programme, less than 5% of donors in the state are in the 0-14 age group. So far, there have been seven donors in the 0-10 age group and 97 donors in the 10-20 age group.

An official from the Jeevandan programme mentioned that efforts are being made to increase awareness about paediatric organ donations, especially with the rising number of recipients in need. Many parents of children with genetic liver diseases are now seeking liver transplants as they believe it can treat the condition, compared to earlier when most paediatric patients would not survive without treatment.

Challenges in Paediatric Liver Transplants

The Osmania General Hospital (OGH) is the main centre for paediatric liver transplants in the government sector. The hospital receives around 35 cases of children in need of liver transplants every month. However, obtaining donors can be challenging, especially if the parents’ blood groups do not match. In such cases, the patient may not receive a transplant and may face death while waiting.

Dr Ch Madhusudan, head of the gastroenterology department at OGH, mentioned that parents usually donate a part of their liver to their children. However, when there is no match, the situation becomes critical. In countries like the US and UK, split liver donations are common, where a single adult liver is split into two and donated to a paediatric and an adult recipient. However, surgeons in India are hesitant to perform split liver transplants due to concerns about the deterioration of the quality of the second split portion of the liver during the ‘Cold ischemia time’.

Promoting Split Liver Donations

The use of advanced equipment like Hypothermic Oxygenated Machine Perfusion (HOPE) machines for organ preservation has made split liver transplants more feasible. Experts believe that with the availability of such technology, more efforts should be made to promote split liver donations in paediatric cases. Although there have been 52 paediatric liver transplants performed at OGH over the years, the potential for split liver donations offers a new avenue to address the shortage of suitable donors for children in need.

FAQ

1. Why is there a lack of paediatric organ donors in Telangana?

The need for paediatric organ donations is growing, but less than 5% of donors in Telangana belong to the 0-14 age group.

2. What are the challenges in paediatric liver transplants?

Obtaining suitable donors, especially when the parents’ blood groups do not match, can be a significant challenge, leading to potential deaths while waiting.

3. How can split liver donations help address the shortage of donors for children?

Split liver donations, where a single adult liver is divided for both paediatric and adult recipients, can provide a solution to the scarcity of suitable donors in paediatric cases.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the number of organ donations in Telangana has been increasing, there is still a lack of paediatric donors, particularly for liver and intestinal transplants. Increasing awareness about paediatric organ donations and promoting split liver donations can help address the growing need for transplants in children and improve their chances of survival.


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