Friday, March 05, 2010
PHOENIX — A significant milestone was reached at Mayo Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 25, when a New Mexico man became the 100th patient to be the recipient of a living donor liver transplant at Mayo Clinic Hospital. His wife was his living donor.
Living donor liver transplantation enables a matching donor — generally a relative or close friend — to donate a healthy segment of his or her liver to a recipient in need. Both livers regenerate to their normal size within a matter of several weeks. Living donor liver transplantation is a way to expand the pool of available organs, given the demand.
More than 16,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving liver transplant, and because of the limited supply of livers from deceased donors, some 2,000 people die annually while awaiting transplantation.
Living donation has notable advantages over donation by a deceased donor. Importantly, the patient can receive a healthy liver before his or her liver disease progresses to a severe stage. Also, the operations can be scheduled at a time when it is optimal for both the donor and the recipient.
Mayo Clinic in Arizona performed its first living donor liver transplant in 2001, when a then-24-year-old man donated part of his liver to his 30-year-old brother. The following year, in 2002, the donor patient was recognized for his heroism by the U.S. Olympic Committee and was invited to carry the Olympic torch as part of the relay that ended with the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
According to 2008 data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), the living donor liver transplant program at Mayo Clinic in Arizona was the fifth largest adult living donor liver transplant program in the U.S.
The milestone in Arizona is significant because only 12 of 125 liver transplant programs in the U.S. have reached this 100 mark. Cumulatively, all three sites of Mayo Clinic (Arizona, Florida and Rochester) have performed more than 220 adult living donor liver transplants, more than any medical institution in the U.S.
On Thursday, Feb. 25, the day of the 100th such transplant at Mayo, the donor, a physician, donated 60 percent of her liver to her husband, who had been ill for several years with a disease of the liver bile ducts. The combined two surgeries took a total of approximately seven hours, and the healthy lobe of the wife's liver was implanted successfully into her husband. Both patients were doing well following surgery and have been discharged from the hospital.
Research has confirmed that patient survival rates, as well as survival of the liver itself (in terms of rejection issues) are the same or better with living liver donors and is a good option for liver patients who are on a waiting list while experiencing a diminished quality of life due to complications.
Of the 564 liver transplants performed at Mayo Clinic in Arizona since 2001, 100 of them were living donor liver transplants, significantly exceeding the national average.
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