Liver disease — an emerging epidemic in India

India needs more organ donors as liver disease is spreading like an epidemic with one in every five adults getting affected, experts said. In Mumbai alone, nearly 2000 patients die annually due to liver failure or liver cancer, while 300 patients are awaiting a liver transplant at any time, they said. Explaining the magnitude of the problem, Dr AS Soin, Chief Surgeon, Jupiter-Medanta Liver Transplant program, said one in five adults is suffering from liver disease.

‘If the current organ donation rate of around 2-3/million here is to become 10 times, it would equal with the one in developed West, and there would be sufficient donors for those on waiting list in Mumbai,’ Soin said in a statement here. Transplants can be life-saving or life changing. While kidney and pancreas transplants are life-changing, liver and heart transplants are life-saving, he said.

‘In kidney failure, dialysis can sustain life for several years, however, there is no such substitute in liver failure. Such patients do not survive unless they receive a liver transplant,’ said Dr Gautama Ramakanthan, Director of Transplant at Jupiter Hospital at a press conference. Senior transplant surgeon Dr R Mohanka said the cadaver donor rates in 2013 were 37/million in Spain, 24/million in the USA, 15/million in Chennai and 1.5/million in Mumbai.

‘This year, Chennai has had 12, Kochi 8, and Mumbai 6 cadaver donors’, he said. Jupiter Hospital CMD Dr Ajay Thakker said today’s function was organised at the insistence of liver recipients as the identity of the deceased don’t cannot be disclosed. ‘We have special protocols in place to ensure that patients on the cadaver wait list are medically, psychologically and financially ready to avoid wastage when a liver does become available’, Soin said. He said the success rate of cadaver as well as live donor liver transplantation is 95 per cent, Ramakanthan said.


The article appeared on March 5th, 2014 on

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