Liver transplant success celebrated on 15th anniversary

New Delhi: Celebrating one of India's key medical triumphs, Congress Chief today felicitated the country's first successful liver transplant recipient, Sanjay Kandasamy from Tamil Nadu, who had undergone the procedure here in November 1998 when he was 18 months old.

"It is wonderful to see how the young infant in dire need of a transplant is today a healthy young man who himself wants to become a doctor. It is a testament not only on India's medical acumen but also of the tenacity of this young man," Gandhi said, as she interacted with Sanjay and his family on the 15th anniversary of liver tansplantation in India.

Sanjay was born with a rare condition called Biliary Atresia, which is seen in one out of 12000 babies.

"This is a condition in which there is no connection between the liver and the intestine so the bile produced in the liver cannot be excreted and therefore damages the liver," said Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director and Senior Paediatric gastroenterologist from Apollo Hospital where Sanjay had undergone the transplant.

These babies develop jaundice a few days after birth and the jaundice progressively increases. An operation to create bile flow, if performed before the age of 2 months, can prevent liver failure.

Unfortunately in India, most babies with biliary atresia are diagnosed after the age of three months making this operation unsuccessful. This happened in Sanjay's case, Sibal said.

 Since his condition was deteriorating because of liver failure, his family decided to come to Delhi and Sanjay's father came forward to donate a part of his liver to give his son a new lease of life.

Sanjay became the first child to have undergone a liver transplant in India on 15th November 1998 and made medical history, Apollo hospital said.

According to Sibal, "Sanjay now leads a completely normal life, goes to school like other kids, enjoys meals, plays football, wants to become a doctor to save lives."

Dr Preetha Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, "The success of the liver transplantation has established the low cost--high quality value proposition that India offers and has enhanced the reputation of Indian healthcare globally. The outcomes are comparable to the best in the West with a cost which is one-tenth."