Three benefit from single liver donation

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The Independent Online
THREE PATIENTS have received liver transplants in a "domino" procedure that French doctors have claimed is a medical first.

The French transplant team from the Paul Brousse Hospital's Hepatobiliary Surgical Unit in Villejuif, near Paris, said that the operations took place last week and three adult men had been able to benefit from transplants resulting from a single donor.

The procedure involved transplanting a healthy liver from a brain-dead donor into a patient suffering from a genetically caused metabolic disorder in which the liver produces a toxic protein that destroys the body's main organs.

The disease, however, does not damage the liver and can be cured through a liver transplant, Dr Henri Bismuth, head of the transplant team at the hospital said.

The first patient's own liver was removed and then divided into two halves: one half was transplanted into a patient with a liver tumour, the other into a man suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.

Dr Bismuth said symptoms of genetic disorder were not expected to appear for at least 20 years, and no liver transplant recipient in France has lived longer than 18 years. Since the recipients of the toxin-producing liver are over the age of 50, they are unlikely to survive long enough for the disorder to manifest itself, he added.

Two of the patients had been told by doctors that they had less than two months to live unless they received a transplant.

Bismuth said the three patients, on hand for a news conference in wheelchairs and high spirits, were doing very well.

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