• Kyodo


Surgeons on Wednesday morning completed Japan’s first “domino” liver transplant in which the patient who acted as both donor and recipient has kept a part of the original liver.

The operations on the three patients ended at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, approximately 15 hours after beginning at Shinshu University Hospital here.

The three patients are in stable condition, doctors said.

Domino transplants refer to a chain of surgeries among three or more patients, at least one of whom is both a donor and a recipient.

On Tuesday, surgeons removed part of the liver of the donor-recipient, identified only as a Nagano Prefecture man, and replaced it with part of a liver from a living female relative.

The removed portion of the man’s organ was then transplanted into a woman suffering a liver tumor in Kyushu.

The remaining part of the man’s own liver was left in his body to assist the function of the transplanted liver due to its small size.

The donor-recipient suffers from a metabolic disease in which, over a long period of time, the liver produces a protein that affects the central nervous system, though otherwise it functions normally.

It is expected to take 20 to 30 years for symptoms of the disease to surface in recipients of the livers.

In Japan, there have been four domino liver transplants in which the donor-recipient’s entire liver was removed. There have also been liver transplants in which part of a diseased liver was left in a recipient’s body, but Tuesday marked the first time it was done as part of a domino transplant, doctors said.

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