This Father’s Day, here is an inspiring story of a father who has undertaken a critical journey of weight loss to save his son’s life.
Manjunath, a boy of 10 years age was suffering from an inability to gain weight, low activity levels and easy fatigability from a very young age. In the middle of 2019, he developed progressive swelling of his tummy. The child was found to be suffering from Hepatopulmonary syndrome due to liver cirrhosis, the definitive cure for which is a liver transplant.
“This is an unusual complication of cirrhosis of liver which causes blood to be partially diverted away from the oxygen exchange area of the lung. This results in a lower amount of life-giving oxygen being taken up in the lungs and delivered to various parts of the body. Manjunath’s oxygen levels are only 83-84% whilst other healthy children have this at 99-100%. He was put on home oxygen therapy to help with this low oxygen levels as a temporary solution,” said Dr. Rajiv Lochan, Sr. Consultant – HPB and Liver Transplantation Surgery, Aster RV Hospital.
Manjunath’s father, 40-year-old Srinivas is a blood compatible match for his son and could be a potential donor to save his son’s life, however he faces a dire challenge. Srinivas is significantly overweight with a BMI of about 35, which puts him at a high possibility of having fatty liver disease. Organ transplantation between donor-recipients where the donor has a fatty liver puts both the individual’s lives at danger. There is nobody else who could be a blood group compatible donor for Manjunath.
Dr Apurva Pande, Consultant Hepatologist, Aster RV Hospital said “In order to donate a part of his liver, Srinivas has been on a strict diet and physical exercise regime for the last 3 months and has managed to lose about 25 kgs so far. With the positive response to his lifestyle changes he has also been commenced on some medications to help with the weight loss and reduce the fat in his liver.”
“I went on a very low-calorie diet of 1200 kcal/day. In addition to this, I started doing resistance exercises using weight cuffs, weights, therabands, aerobic exercises, cycling, jogging, cross training, swimming and skipping. The pandemic introduced new challenges and I had to change my exercise regime, but I am determined to become a healthy liver donor to save my child’s life,” said Srinivas. He adds, “I am also raising money for my child’s Transplant through crowdfunding. The doctors at Aster have subsided my child’s treatment through their affordable transplant initiative which has helped a lot.”
Dr Arvind K.S, Consultant, HPB and Liver Transplant surgeon, Aster RV Hospital said, “Fatty liver disease is on the rising trend in our country. It occurs in about 30% of the urban population. The reasons for it include alcohol consumption, diabetes, insulin resistance hypertension, dyslipidemia, hypothyroidism, obesity, certain drugs, genetic disorders and importantly lack of exercise combined with an imbalance in diet. Nature has been kind as only a small percentage of fatty livers progress to chronic liver disease / cirrhosis.”
Manjunath has been on the deceased donor state wait list for a liver graft from a brain-dead donor for the past 5 months but has not yet received a graft offer. This is due to the combination of the current COVID pandemic and the change in state organ allocation rules which came into effect from the end of Feb 2020.
The ILC team hopes that they will be able to perform the living donor liver transplant from Father to son in 6-8 weeks’ time and return Manjunath along with Srinivas back to full health.
Dr Rajiv Lochan added, “Our aim is that every child who needs life-saving liver treatment is able to undergo it. They are our future and we need to provide every child an opportunity to get back to full health. The affordable Liver Transplant initiative is able to perform a Liver Transplant at a cost to family between 2.5 to 5 Lakhs, with the remainder coming from a combination of Corporate Social Responsibility support, donations from individuals, crowd finding and hospital subsidy. We have managed to raise close to 10 Cr and have performed 95 such transplants over the past 5 years.”
The Integrated Liver care team at Aster is a group of Liver enthusiasts who work in an innovative medico-surgical multi-disciplinary group. They comprise HPB & Liver Transplant Surgeons – Dr Rajiv Lochan, Dr Sonal Asthana, Dr Mathew Jacob, Dr Arvind K Seshadri, Dr Karthik Raichurkar, Dr Sudheer M, Dr Naphene; Hepatologists – Dr Charles Pancakal, Dr Mallikarjun Sakpal, Dr Apurva Pandey.