KYOTO – Doctors at Kyoto University Hospital completed an overnight operation Tuesday to transplant a liver into a comatose woman who had donated part of her own liver to her daughter last summer and later suffered liver failure.
The operation, which concluded at 4 a.m., lasted more than 11 hours.
Doctors said the condition of the woman is stable, and that the transplanted liver was functioning properly.
However, the woman will continue to be treated in the intensive care unit with the aid of an artificial respirator, they said, adding that she may have suffered brain damage because she had been in a deep coma.
The liver was removed from a patient at Nagoya University Hospital on Monday and transported by bullet train to Kyoto. The Nagoya patient who donated her liver suffers from metabolic liver disorder and in turn received part of the liver of a healthy donor.
The mother, in her late 40s, donated about 70 percent of her liver to her critically ill teenage daughter at Kyoto University Hospital in August.
A few months later, however, her liver functions deteriorated, and she fell into a coma in December after contracting pneumonia. She is now in respiratory failure, the doctors said.
They said she decided to donate part of her liver to her daughter despite having high blood pressure and a fatty liver, because the girl, suffering from biliary atresia, was not doing well after receiving part of her father’s liver in 1994.
Biliary atresia is the congenital absence or closure of ducts that drain bile from the liver. It causes bile to be trapped in the liver, damaging cells in the organ.
It is the first time in Japan that a donor has suffered debilitating effects since liver transplants from living donors were permitted in 1989. Previously, there had only been cases in which donors complained of minor trouble.
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