With over 358 patients waiting to get their liver transplant surgery done in Pune alone, the growing number of patients needing a transplant has now forced the state health department to plan two more new centres for liver transplant surgeries. This was decided in a state meeting which was held by the state advisory committee of organ transplant in Mumbai a week ago.
The incidence rate of liver disease has gone up by five to six times in the last five years and there is a major paradigm shift in the aetiology of the same, hepatology experts have claimed. The state health department already has two liver transplant centres in Pune and Mumbai.
“We are seeing a rise in waiting list of patients suffering from liver diseases. Also, people are becoming aware that government set ups are now equipped to conduct liver transplants and hence, we plan to extend the centres in two more cities – Aurangabad and Nagpur. The centres will come up at the Aurangabad medical college and hospital and Nagpur medical college and hospital. We currently have centres in Pune and Mumbai,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, director medical education and research, Maharashtra,
Shingare said, “In all, there will be four liver transplant centres in Maharashtra. This was decided by all the members who were present in the meeting for which the state director for health too was present.”
The liver transplant surgeons welcomed the move, however, said that the need of the hour is trained surgeons. “We lack surgeons for liver transplants, but we cannot afford to pay those who come to us from private practice,” said Dr Shingare.
Dr Bipin Vibhute, liver transplant unit head at Sahyadri hospital, agreed that there has been a rise in the incidence rate of liver diseases.
Dr Manish Verma, an expert in liver transplant surgery, head of the liver transplant department at Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, said, “The patients needing a transplant is on the rise and have increased by four times in the last five years.” Verma also conducts liver transplant surgeries in Ruby Hall Clinic, Jehangir and Sassoon hospitals.
Liver diseases, which were mainly linked to alcohol or any infection (hepatitis specifically) have now undergone a paradigm shift. Now more than 50% of all the cases are caused due to fatty liver disease or non-alcoholic or non-infectious liver disease. The main reason for such a change and increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is mainly due to sedentary lifestyle, obesity and genetic causes, Verma said.
He said, “People need to be aware that liver disease is not only caused by hepatitis or alcohol consumption, but it can be caused by poor lifestyle. We are also seeing a rise in the number of cases that are coming in early and are getting treated without undergoing any surgery as well. We plan to achieve a prevention mode in liver diseases.”
Dr Harshal Rajekar, liver transplant surgeon, said, “Cases are on the rise, but precautionary measures like exercising, healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are important steps towards not developing or preventing oneself from liver diseases.”