An organ transplantation surgery at Việt Nam – Germany Friendship Hospital in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - For the first time in Vietnam, doctors at the Vietnam-Germany Hospital have successfully performed a split liver transplant, dividing a donor’s liver and transplanting it to one adult and one child patient.

The hospital last week announced that organs donated from a 30-year-old brain dead man had been transplanted into five patients, including two kidney and two liver transplant recipients, as well as one heart transplant. In addition, blood vessels had been sent to a preservation bank for other patients.

Doctor Nguyen Quang Nghia, head of the hospital’s Organ Transplantation Centre, said the most complex aspect of the liver transplant was that medical staff had to split the donor’s liver and then transplant it into one child aged eight (was suffering liver failure - hepatic coma due to decompensated cirrhosis, as well as copper metabolism disorder and congenital biliary atresia), and a 49-year-old adult with liver cancer.

A simultaneous dividing and transplantation surgery was performed over 16 hours, witnessing a combination of leading experts from multiple specialties. Six days after the transplants, all five patients have recovered well.

Professor Tran Binh Giang, director of the hospital, said the success of the split liver transplant affirmed the professionalism of local medical staff and offered a new opportunity for patients waiting for liver transplants.

At present, the source of livers for transplant remains limited, mainly from brain-dead donors, but with the split liver procedures, one donated liver could help two patients, he said.

The first split liver transplant was carried out in 1988 but it is difficult to implement due to the lack of understanding on the anatomy of the donor liver before dividing, while the transplant for two patients at the same time also required huge technical crews that could perform the liver transplant in emergency conditions with complex techniques.

The first adult liver transplant was successfully performed at the Vietnam– German Hospital on November 28, 2007. On April 15, 2010, the hospital also successfully carried out the first liver transplant from a brain-dead donor.-VNS/VNA