Transplant facts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 August, 2002, 12:00am

At least 100 Hong Kong people are waiting for liver transplants. Forty per cent will die while waiting.

Each transplant costs at least $1 million, six times the cost of a kidney transplant. It requires three surgeons, two anaesthetists, and a team of nurses working 16 hours in surgery.

Liver transplant patients are put on the anti-rejection drug FK506 for life. It costs $20,000 a year for each patient.

Hong Kong's high prevalence of hepatitis B - 10 per cent are carriers, and a quarter of those will suffer related diseases - gives it one of the world's highest rates of liver problems.

The liver donor rate in Hong Kong is less than three per million of population per year, one of the world's lowest.

The world's first human liver transplant was performed in 1963. In Hong Kong, the first liver transplant was performed at the Queen Mary Hospital in October 1991.

At the Queen Mary Hospital, the survival rate of transplant recipients is 82 per cent after one year and 77 per cent after five years.