Pioneering local liver transplants successful
Twin 2-year-old boys suffering from a rare genetic disease that caused severe pneumonia, low blood sugar and acidosis received successful liver transplants at Renji Hospital, hospital officials announced on Monday.
The donated liver was split into two parts for each of the boys. The operation was the world’s first successful liver transplant in twins afflicted with glycogen storage disease (GSD).
GSD is a rare inherited disease caused by defective enzymes responsible for converting glucose into glycogen. The twins had GSD type I, which has an incidence rate of one in 100,000. Because GSD occurs mainly in muscles and the liver, symptoms include stunted growth, low blood sugar, an enlarged liver and swollen belly. Patients also face an increased risk of liver tumors, and transplants are the only cure.
The twins, whose parents abandoned them, are being raised by their grandparents, who took them to Renji's Dr Xia Qiang when the boys developed symptoms early last year.
Xia’s team searched for a donor and raised money for the transplant, ultimately receiving one from a 9-year-old from a poor rural family.
A total of 600,000 yuan was raised from charity foundations and Renji staff donations.
Since carrying out the first children’s liver transplant in 2006, Renji doctors have performed more than 2,400 such transplants, more than any hospital in the world. The hospital's surgery success and survival rates are the highest in the world.