NEW DELHI: Sivojit Paul is only seven months old and he is also the youngest patient to undergo a successful liver transplant in India. Born with
Seven-month-old Sivojit Paul is the youngest patient to undergo a successful liver transplant in India (TOI)
biliary atresia, a liver disorder that does not allow bile excretion, Sivojit was operated upon at the IndraprasthaApollo Hospital on September 12.
For Sivojit's mother Mummun Dubey Paul, a Kolkata-based advocate, her son's life has been the biggest gift and an end to the nightmare that was the last seven months. "I don't want to remember that time. It was really tough. But this is the best Durga puja gift and I'll cherish it all my life," she said.
If it was an emotionally challenging experience for Sivojit's family, for the doctors at Apollo, it was a huge challenge too. "We have never operated upon such a young child. The smaller the baby, the more difficult it is to perform the surgery as the blood vessels are very small. Sivojit's condition was also not very good. We had a tough time feeding him as he had become very irritable and lethargic due to his medical condition," said Dr Anupam Sibal, group medical director and senior paediatric gastroenterologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Doctors said Sivojit's condition deteriorated as the bile was not getting excreted despite a KASAI operation, in which the liver was joined to the small intestine, a few months ago. "He developed jaundice and there was no way out but to operate upon him. His father volunteered to donate his liver and we operated the two of them simultaneously in two operation theatres. Nearly 250 grams of his father's liver was taken and transplanted into Sivojit," said Dr Subhash Gupta, senior consultant, liver transplant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
It took a team of 24 doctors and nurses 12 hours to perform the transplant. With her son happily kicking into the air post-surgery, Sivojit's mother said, "He was very different earlier. He used to cry a lot. But now when I see him happy it brings a smile on my face."
What made matters more complicated was the fact that Sivojit's condition was diagnosed very late. Doctors said late diagnosis was common in India and jaundice in newborns was not taken seriously. "A child with jaundice reaches a hospital after 33 days of birth and by the time he is diagnosed with biliary atresia or any other medical condition, more than three months have passed," said Dr Sibal.
The success of the KASAI surgery, a preventive step to avoid liver transplant, is dependent on what stage it is carried out. "The important message is that parents should not ignore if jaundice persists for more than two weeks of life," said Dr Sibal.