In a first for Asia, Thai hospital conducts first triple organ transplant
Recipient, whose condition had once driven him to contemplate suicide, is doing well five months since the heart, liver and kidney transplant operation
By Apinya Wipatayotin
Siriraj Hospital announced Wednesday it conducted a successful heart, liver and kidney transplant on a 26-year-old man who had lived with chronic organ diseases for almost two decades.
This operation is thought to be the first of its kind in Asia, and the 15th in the world, according to the hospital.
The 12-hour operation, carried out on December 3, was performed by a team led by Dr Yongyut Sirivatanauksorn, vice director of Siriraj Hospital.
The recipient, Rachanond Rungsawang from Bangkok, had suffered from kidney problems since the age of eight which later led to serious heart and liver diseases. Before the operation, he had to go to hospital three times a week for dialysis.
The need for a multiple transplant took on more urgency in August last year when he was admitted to Siriraj Hospital after his organs began to fail.
His chance of a new lease of life came on December 3, when the donated organs from a single donor proved a match.
Dr Visit Vamvanij, director of Siriraj Hospital, praised the team of surgeons and medical staff, saying the success of the operation was down to team work.
The 3 million baht (US$94,620) medical bill was partly covered by the universal healthcare package and the hospital’s fund for the poor.
“He [Mr Rachanond] looks good. There was no rejection of the new organs and the heart, liver and kidneys are working properly,” said Dr Yongyut.
“It is now five months since the operation and we have had no cause to worry,” he added.
Mr Rachanond was discharged from hospital on February 23, but was being closely monitored.
The hospital said it decided to announce the operation after concluding that Mr Rachanond was in the clear.
Mr Rachanond said he was extremely grateful to the donor and could not thank the medical team enough for giving him a fresh chance at life. He said he had contemplated suicide because his condition had made his quality of life unbearable.
“I can walk now and live a normal life. I am no longer tired when I walk. I can help my family and I am no longer a burden any more,” he told reporters.
Siriraj Hospital is the country’s leading transplant hospital. It performed its first kidney transplant in 1973, and its first combined liver and kidney transplant in 1999.
So far it has successfully transplanted 1,298 kidneys, 321 livers and 67 hearts.