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April 20, 2019

17th liver transplant to be performed at Dow varsity’s Ojha Campus today

Karachi

April 20, 2019

A team of liver transplant surgeons led by an Iranian surgeon will perform the 17th living-donor liver transplant at the Liver Transplant Unit of the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Ojha Campus, on Saturday (today) while another patient will have his liver transplant at the centre on Sunday, officials said.

“Dr Nasir Fakhar from the Imam Khomeini Medical Complex, Tehran, will perform the 17th liver transplant along with Dr Syed Muhammad Raza, the incharge of liver transplant programme of the Dow University, and his team on Saturday (today),” said Prof Saeed Quraishy, vice chancellor of the DUHS, while talking to The News.

A young man has agreed to donate part of his liver to his maternal uncle, whose liver was badly damaged and need transplantation to live on, experts said, adding that these types of transplants are called “living-donor transplantation”, where a healthy person donates part of his donor to another person.

Prof Quraishy said Dr Nasir Fakhar would also perform another liver transplant on Sunday, the 18th such procedure since the start of the liver transplant unit at the Dow University of Health Sciences, helping a team of Pakistani surgeons and experts to learn from his experience and perform such procedures independently at the DUHS.

Last month, hematologists and transplant physicians had performed the first Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) at the DUHS Ojha Campus when a 63-year-old man suffering from multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) became the first person who successfully underwent the specialised procedure.

Prof Quraishy said they in addition to inviting foreign surgeons had also sent their surgeons to different liver transplant centres in the country and abroad for training. He added as soon as they felt confident that their surgeons could perform liver transplants without any foreign expert’s support, they would be allowed to perform the procedure locally.

“In the first week of the May this year, one of our finest liver transplant surgeons is returning to the university after acquiring four-year training in liver transplant and with his inclusion in our team, we would be able to perform these highly sophisticated and specialised procedures without any foreign help.”

Prior to seeking Iranian surgeons’ support, the Dow University had acquired the services of Dr Subhash Gupta, a leading Indian transplant surgeon who had performed several transplant surgeries at the Ojha Campus in Karachi, but due to strained relations between the two countries during the last few years, visa issues hampered Dr Gupta’s arrival to the DUHS and continue his training of Pakistani surgeons in the area of living donor liver transplants.

At the moment, Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad is the only healthcare facility where liver transplants are being performed on a commercial basis, while in Sindh, three institutions, including DUHS, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation Karachi and Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences, are in the race with each other to perform their first independent transplant in the province.

Dr Muhammad Raza, incharge of the DUHS Liver Transplant Unit at the Ojha Campus, said he along with his team of surgeons, technicians and nurses would be assisting Iranian surgeon Dr Nasir Fakhar in performing the 17th and 18th liver transplant procedures at the hospital and hoped that they would be able to perform the surgical procedure without any complication.

“Liver transplant is not a simple procedure like kidney or any other transplantation as it requires cutting part of a healthy person’s liver and transplanting it to the diseased liver of another person. These procedures require high quality of precision, skill, training, patience and sophistication as well as post-operative care,” Dr Raza added.

Dow University officials said they were on the right path to become Pakistan’s first public sector university hospital to perform liver transplants without any foreign assistance in the coming months, saying very soon people would be approaching transplant the Dow University hospital’s various institutes for transplants and other complicated surgeries and procedures.

“Last month, we became the first public sector university hospital to perform the first successful Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) in Pakistan and days are not far when the Dow University would be performing living-donor as well as cadaver liver transplants in Karachi,” said Prof Quraishy.

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