Covid positive liver failure Kabaddi player successfully undergoes transplant


Perhaps in a first of its kind, doctors at the MGM Healthcare, on Thursday said they have successfully performed a live-donor liver transplant on a Covid positive national kabaddi player in coma with liver failure.

The 26-year-old patient, Raghul Gandhi, hailing from Puducherry developed acute liver failure and his condition worsened due to sudden onset of jaundice.

He slipped into a deep coma within two days after being diagnosed with the disease and was shifted to MGM Healthcare.

The situation was complicated as Gandhi also tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, his lung was not affected by coronavirus.

“We took up the challenge to do the emergency liver transplant bearing in mind the complicated nature of the patient’s health condition,” Thiagarajan Srinivasan, Director, Institute of Liver Diseases, Transplant and HPB surgery said.

Normally a liver transplant is performed on Covid free end stage liver disease patient or 4-5 weeks post Covid recovery with 2 successive negative RTPCR tests.

However, Gandhi’s condition was critical and the transplant had to be done within 24 hours.

The other problem the doctors faced was the availability of liver as there was only one liver donation in May in Tamil Nadu.

According to Srinivasan, it was then decided to do a living donor liver transplant in which a part of the donor’s liver is transplanted after removal of the diseased liver.

The live donor was Gandhi’s brother.

Srinivasan and his team conducted the emergency liver transplant within 12 hours.

A bio-bubble was implemented in place to avoid non-mixture of donor and recipient teams, building of separate Covid-proof transport corridors, ICUs, wards and Operation Theatres throughout the entire hospital stay of 15 days for the patient and the team.

Doctors said Gandhi has recovered well with the new liver and has successfully defeated Covid infection and his condition will be monitored for a few days.