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It was on February 4 this year when 5–year–old Dnyanashree Ghule from Manjari noticed symptoms of Hepatitis A and was soon detected with acute liver failure. Her parents were shocked when her condition deteriorated rapidly and was advised a liver transplant. Flown by an air ambulance to Apollo Hospital in Chennai, Dnyanashree was lucky to get a cadaver donor within 48 hours of admission. Four months after a liver transplant, she has started attending private tuition classes.

"I am feeling much better now. My mother was willing to give me a part of liver had I not got a cadaver donor," said Dnyanashree.

If Dnyanashree is one among many who has battled last stage liver diseases to resume a normal life, there are many who are uncertain about taking a step towards liver transplant either due to fear or lack of awareness.

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"Patients suffering from liver ailments can seldom tell they are at risk as general health check–ups do not highlight symptoms. Only when their condition deteriorates to a level that they have to be hospitalised, are extensive tests conducted to diagnose the disease. In most cases, the disease will have reached an irreversible stage, leaving the patient with very few options, the safest being the transplant," said Manish Varma, Consultant, Multi–Organ Transplantation and Hepato–biliary–pancreatic Oncology, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.

Equipped with new age technologies like the laparoscopic Argon Beam Laser, Tissue Link, CUSA and Laparoscopic Vascular Stapling, the Centre for Liver Diseases and Transplantation at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, has the expertise and skilled surgeons who can perform bloodless liver surgeries with high success rates on a daily basis.

Having successfully completed 290 transplants in Chennai alone, Apollo's Transplant Programme is one of the busiest in the world, having clocked 1,200 solid organ transplants in a year and continuing to cater to many from outside and within India.

Sixty–year–old J B Agarwal from Pune is leading an active and productive life today. A year ago, when he was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, his quality of life progressively deteriorated till the time he got a liver transplant. Today he takes pride in having trekked to Kailash Mansarovar in the Himalayas just a year after the surgery!

Commenting on the current status of organ donation in the country, Varma said focussed efforts need to be made to increase awareness on organ donation, especially cadaveric transplants. "Every year we lose many lives in want of organ transplants. The reason: there is an acute imbalance between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for a transplant. At least 40 per cent of people on our waiting list die due to lack of a donor," he said.

Fifty–seven–year old Gurushant Dhawale from Pune is back to work six months after a liver transplant. V Vaidya, a 63–year–old ex–serviceman, who underwent a liver transplant is now looking forward to take care of his grandchildren.

Indian Express
21 Sep 2013

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