Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals will open a liver clinic here to guide patients on transplantation. The patients will be referred to the hospital in Chennai if they require transplantation. If not, they can get treated locally by a gastroenterologist, Consultant Surgeon at the hospital's Centre for Liver Diseases and Transplantation Anand Ramamurthy told presspersons on Wednesday.
While a new clinic would be opened in Coimbatore, the existing general clinics in Madurai, Tiruchi and Erode would be use for the liver-related programme also.
A multi-disciplinary team would assess patients thoroughly on whether they required transplantation. With no liver transplantation facility in Coimbatore, Apollo Hospitals looked at filling the gap by guiding patients to the facility in Chennai.
Apollo Hospital was not looking at opening a full-fledged multi-speciality centre in the city now. The effort now was to spread awareness among the public on the facility in Chennai. “We will liaise with the doctors and hospitals in Coimbatore. Already, they are referring cases to us. We have also harvested livers from brain dead patients in Coimbatore and transplanted these in recipients at our hospital in Chennai,” Dr. Ramamurthy said.
“We also want people to know that liver transplantation is not a trial and error procedure any longer. It has been standardised,” Dr. Ramamurthy said. “Over the last 10 years, the success rate has improved from 60 per cent to 90 per cent. Worldwide, it has been put at 86 per cent to 92 per cent.”
The surgeon said people should know that donating a portion of the liver was safe as the organ had the capacity to regenerate. “It regenerates 90 per cent in eight week,” he said. “At the same time, we need to brief the donors on the risk also, in order to get their informed consent,” he pointed out.
Explaining the need for greater awareness, he said 50 million people in the country were affected by liver diseases and the incidence was on the rise.
People came to the specialists only when the problem was at an advanced stage. “The liver is a silent and non-complaining worker. Only when the problem crosses the 70 per cent mark, the symptoms such as vomiting of blood, slurred speech and fluid accumulation in hands and legs will show up.”