Hospital to conduct living donor liver transplants

Philip (left) and Krishnan at the press conference.

Philip (left) and Krishnan at the press conference.

KOTA KINABALU: Selayang Hospital in Selangor will introduce liver transplants from living donors by the end of this year or early next year.

Krishnan Raman, head and consultant of the Department of Hepatopancreaticobiliary (HPB) Services at Selayang Hospital, said the procedure involved removing part of the liver of a living donor and transplanting it into the patient.

HPB is a medical field that specializes in liver, pancreas and bile ducts diseases.

Krishnan said the success rate of the living donor liver transplant was slightly better than that of the deceased donor because the procedure was done in a controlled operation.

“The donors are usually healthy people, typically younger and thus the results are very good,” he said in an interview after the National Gastrointestinal Assistants (GIA) Conference here yesterday.

The event was organized by the Gastroenterology Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Malaysia Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Krishnan, who is also the national advisor of HPB Services to the Ministry of Health, said the Department of HPB Services at Selayang Hospital was the only one undertaking liver transplant surgery in Malaysia.

The first liver transplant was carried out on a boy from Kuching, Sarawak in 2002.

Since then, Krishnan said the department had performed 80 liver transplants.

However, he said the liver transplant programme was dependent on people who were willing to donate when they were brain dead.

“It is hard to sustain the programme (liver transplant) because the donation rate is very low.”

As such, Krishnan said the Department of HPB Services was going to embark on liver transplant from living donors.

“Many countries are doing live donor transplant because their (organ) donation rate is very poor.”

Since the Department of HPB Services was set up at Selayang Hospital, it has trained 20 surgeons in this field, who upon completion of their three-year training, were sent to different locations to serve in the country.

“We have HPB centres in Penang, Alot Setar, Malacca, Kuching and until recently, QEH,” Krishnan said, adding that the HPB surgeon at QEH had resigned recently to enter the private sector.

On another note, Krishnan said the Endoscopy Unit at QEH was one of the best in the country, given that the hospital had acquired many new equipment, including two units of the latest SpyGlass direct visualization system for endoscopy procedure.

The SpyGlass provides real time 3D image and enables access into the bile duct as well as removal of tissue for biopsy. It enables early detection of diseases, including cancer.

Also present at the interview was Philip Gisan, who is the deputy head of assistant medical officer grade U44 and head of Endoscopy Unit at QEH since 1998.

Philip has served under the MOH since 1976 and will be retiring on October 20 this year.

Throughout his 40 years of service, Philip has worked at QEH, Duchess of Kent Hospital Sandakan, Tawau General Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital Bukit Padang, Keningau District Hospital and Kudat District Hospital.

He was involved in the setting up of the Endoscopy Unit at QEH.

Since 2010, Philip has been appointed as a guest lecturer to teach and give lectures on post basic gastrointestinal endoscopy nursing.

To date, 460 nurses and assistant medical officers from the private and government hospitals have been trained in the programme.

He is also the chairman of South East Asia Endoscopy Nursing Programme and chairman of Gastroenterology Intestinal Assistants Society.