One of the limitations in liver transplantation has been the necessity of the donor having a blood group compatible with that of the recipient. Often the patient has family members who are willing and fit to donate part of their liver to the patient but because their blood group is not compatible the transplant was not possible and the patient often died waiting for a liver from a brain dead donor. We have developed a simple and safe protocol for liver transplantation even when the blood groups are incompatible.
How does it work?
When the blood group of the donor is not compatible with that of the recipient, for instance when the donor's blood group is A and that of the recipient is B, the recipient has antibodies in the blood against the A group antigen. The antigen is present on the cells lining the blood vessels as well as other liver cells. The antibody would bind to the antigen and trigger off an inflammatory response and clotting of blood in the small blood vessels.
However, we can perform a series of procedures designed to remove the antibodies from the recipient's blood before the transplant to make the transplant safe an possible.
We have performed five liver transplants over the past 18 months from incompatible blood groups. All have been successful.
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