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Assam, Swagat Hospital to provide affordable liver transplants

In what comes as relief for patients who find it difficult to travel beyond Northeast for liver transplantation, Swagat Super Speciality Surgical Institute in Guwahati has added liver transplant facilities to the list of advanced surgical procedures.

The hospital has announced that patients in need of liver transplant would be provided the service at the institute in about a couple of months.

“Liver transplant is a very labour intensive process needing special attention from specialists and frequent costly investigations in the postoperative period along with a long ICU stay. It also needs a cath lab with interventional radiologists and interventional cardiologists to monitor multiple anastomoses that are done during the transplantation, which Swagat Super Speciality has recently added,” informed chief medical director of Swagat Super Specialty Surgical Institute Prof. Subhash Khanna.

Apart from the medical costs, patients need to stay back for a long period of time after the surgery and need frequent lifelong follow ups. The family needs to incur insurmountable costs during and after the treatment, pushing them to debt.

The procedure currently costs Rs 30 to Rs 40 lakh in the Metro cities and there are only three to four major centers in the country that have been doing liver transplantation frequently.

Swagat aims to cut the transplant costs down to affordable rates. “We will try to cut down the cost of such procedures to half,” Prof. Khanna said.

Swagat Super Specialty Surgical Institute (SSSSI) was established in 2000 with the aim and objective of providing best of surgical technology at the disposal of patients from Northeast India.

It has established itself as an advanced centre for robotic and laparoscopic surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, surgical oncology (cancer surgery), therapeutic endoscopy, head and neck surgery, state-of-the-art ICU and cath lab, urology, plastic surgery and thoracic surgery.

“Although kidney transplant is a routine in some of the centres in our country, it was a long-fought battle to get the government’s approval for liver transplant, given that it mandates a wide variety of resources and state-of-the-art facilities to meet up to the stringent guidelines,” he said.

Prof. Khanna stressed on the need for health insurance for every citizen, given the ever-increasing number of chronic liver diseases patients and those with liver cancer in need of liver transplantation from our region.

While thanking the government on behalf of Swagat Superspeciality Surgical Institute, he introduced the team members of the liver transplant team which comprises Dr Basant Mahadevappa (liver transplant surgeon), Dr Amitava Goswami (gastroenterologist and hepatologist) and the team of surgeons, along with the team who were instrumental in following up the transplant programme and making it a success.

Dr Mahadevappa is a transplant surgeon from Bangalore, who has performed over 276 liver transplants with over 20 years of experience and seven years of experience in liver transplant in the UK and has experience of both living and deceased donor transplantation.

Swagat will soon be announcing the special screening camp for identification and selection of appropriate patients for liver transplant. Around 1,000-1,500 liver transplantations happen in India.

“In Northeast India, there is a dearth of liver transplantation facilities. Swagat Hospitals shall try to fill in this lacuna,” he said. EastMojo

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