First-ever simultaneous heart and liver transplant in Spain
A medical facility in Madrid, the Gregorio Marañon Hospital has performed, for the very first time in Spain, a simultaneous heart and liver transplant to a patient with congenital heart disease. This was made possible with thanks to the coordination of the National Transplant Organization (ONT).
As the Ministry of Health explained in a statement, the patient already had a failed Fontan surgery, as well as heart and liver failure, so his life was in danger. It was an operation that involved 30 health professionals, lasting more than 30 hours. The heart transplant was carried out first, followed by the liver, after which, the patient was transferred to the ICU to recover. After a few days, he was moved to a regular ward, and has since been discharged.
In keeping with the standard procedure of the National Reference Centre (CSUR), the operation comprised different departments. The liver transplant unit, the blood bank, Healthcare workers from the adult congenital heart disease programme, and other units from the Marañon all took part.
A press release from the health facility outlined the great planning that was entailed in an operation of this magnitude. Consensual development of a multidisciplinary protocol to address quick decisions at the logistical, medical, surgical, anesthetic, and nursing levels, was necessary.
The patient had previously undergone Fontan surgery, to “separate the circulation of the body and the lungs”. This is an operation conducted on people born with a single ventricle, a complex procedure, that in the long term can affect their liver.
Few facilities in the world have experience to perform this operation
When the situation is serious and irreversible, the only viable treatment left is combined heart and liver transplantation, but there are few centres in the world with experience in this type of enormously complex surgery.
None of this would have been possible without the collaboration and coordination with the Madrid hospital where the organ donation took place. Acknowledgment must also go to the generosity of the donor’s family.
As the press release concluded, “It is another milestone in the successful history of organ transplantation in Spain, as well as an advance and hope for the treatment of adults with end-stage congenital heart disease and secondary failure of multiple vital organs”, as reported by elperiodico.com.