Over 2 lakh people lose their lives in India every year due to liver disease and close to 20,000 people need liver transplantation to survive. However, as of now, only 2,000 liver transplantations are being done in India per year. Dr Vivek Vij, Director – Liver Transplant & GI Surgery, Fortis Hospital Mohali & Noida, brought these stark facts to the attention of the media during the launch of Liver Transplantation OPD at Fortis Hospital Ludhiana, here today. He was accompanied by Dr Ashish Singhal (Consultant – Liver Transplantation & Hepatobiliary Surgery, Fortis Hospital Mohali) and Dr Nitin Behl (Senior Consultant - Gastroenterology) & Dr Pankaj Sihag (Senior Consultant – Gastrointestinal Surgery) - both from Fortis Hospital Ludhiana.”The higher alcohol consumption in Punjabis has translated into higher incidence of liver ailments in the state, reiterating the need to have better facilities for liver treatment and liver transplantation,” said Dr Ashish Singhal.
He said that one in every five Indians suffer from liver problems and the most common are alcoholic liver disease, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Obesity-related liver disease. He added that due to the large number of alcoholics, Punjab has more incidence of alcoholic liver disease. It develops after years of heavy drinking. Alcohol also causes inflammation in the liver.
Dr Singhal added that the fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis are not necessarily distinct stages of evolution of the disease, but rather, multiple stages that may be present simultaneously in a given inpidual. The causes of ALD include heavy drinking, gender, obesity, Hepatitis C, genetics and malnutrition. He added that in men, dose of alcohol is considered to be 60-80 gm/day for 10 years. In women, it’s 20-40 gm/day for 10 years. As a result, the time this disease takes to develop is equal to the amount consumed and duration for which it was consumed. The symptoms include pain and swelling in abdomen, decreased appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, dry mouth & increased thirst, yellow color in the skin or mucus membrane or eyes, small, red spider-like veins on skin, itching and redness on feet or hands. A person also gets numbness in limbs and has problem thinking or memorizing.
Giving much-needed relief to the people suffering from liver problems and failure, Fortis Hospital Ludhiana is starting Liver Transplant OPD every first and last Friday of the month, he added.Mr Vivan Singh Gill, Facility Director, Fortis Hospital Ludhiana, said, “Fortis Hospital Ludhiana has ramped up quickly and has always been committed to providing world-class healthcare facilities to the people of this region. In addition to our successful Oncology, Orthopedics, Mother & Child and Cardiology programs, we are now adding an OPD for Liver Transplantation. The patient will be screened by Fortis’ team of experts and if the investigations reveal that the patient needs a liver transplant, the surgery will be conducted as per medical advice at Fortis Hospital Mohali. The wing would deal with liver problems of children, adult, DDLT, LDLT, complex liver resections and hepatobiliary pancreatic surgeries.”
Stating that liver transplantation is the most effective treatment for all acute and chronic liver, Dr Vivek Vij said, “Liver transplant is the only available treatment for end-stage liver disease. Liver failure is a potentially fatal condition in which liver functions progressively deteriorate resulting in episodes of jaundice, accumulation of fluid in the body, blood vomiting and confusion. Condition such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity are amongst the leading causes of liver disease.”He elaborated that in liver transplantation a diseased or failing liver is replaced by a healthy liver from a deceased donor (brain dead donor) or part of a healthy liver from a living donor. Up to 70 per cent of the liver can be safely removed without any untoward consequences in a healthy inpidual. The remnant liver grows rapidly to restore the full functional capacity required for the inpidual within a week’s time, though it may take about 3 – 4 weeks for the liver to attain its previous size.
He further added that immediate post-operative success rate of liver transplant worldwide is around 92–95 per cent. Most of the patients lead a normal, healthy and productive life. The goal of Fortis Healthcare’s liver transplant program is to not only to raise awareness regarding liver diseases, but to also provide access to world-class facilities at affordable rates.Dr Vij, who along with his team has performed over 1,000 liver transplants, and Dr Singhal (who has an experience of 400+ transplants) will work with a team of surgeons, herpetologists, anesthetists, transplant coordinator, dietician, radiologist, interventional radiologist along with dedicated ICU staff.