HOME > Med in Japan Newsletter No.3 December 2012 > Pediatric Live-donor transplantation in Japan

Pediatric Live-donor transplantation in Japan

A live-donor liver transplant involves surgical removal of part of the liver from a living donor and transplant grafting of the liver tissue in the recipient. This procedure was developed in Japan to compensate for the fact that Japan has been slow to adopt the practice of harvesting organs from brain-dead donors, and Japanese physicians are the acknowledged leaders in this field.
At the request of one of the physicians who has pioneered this field, Med in Japan is acting as the medical coordinator in a case involving a child from Indonesia. The doctor himself selected the hospital where the operation was to be performed and Med in Japan made all of the arrangements from before the patient came to Japan up until the operation.

The living donor in this instance was the child’s mother. Before the hospital could accept the patient and donor, however, the matter needed to first be approved by the hospital ethics committee. In conducting their review, the committee requested to see documentation issued by the appropriate authorities in Indonesia and translated into English and Japanese, certifying the family relationship between donor and recipient. Med in Japan coordinated the retrieval of this documentation and arranged for its translation.

Med in Japan also assisted the mother and child in obtaining the appropriate travel visas necessary in order to enter Japan, as well as acting as the patient-hospital payment intermediary, coordinating scheduling and communications between the hospital and patients, arranging lodging for accompanying family members, providing attendants to accompany the patients to and from the hospital for outpatient checkups and treatment following discharge, and assisting in the procurement of prescribed medications.

The operation was successfully completed and the donor released from the hospital, while the recipient was moved from intensive care to a room in the hospital ward. The recipient was kept in the hospital for slightly longer than was originally planned but was eventually released, and is currently returning once every two weeks to undergo observation.

Requirements regarding the proximity of familial relationship between donors and recipients are decided by each hospital independently, and all living-donor transplant cases are subject to review and prior approval by the hospital ethics committee.

For more information concerning living-donor liver transplants, please contact Med in Japan by clicking here and using the form provided.

Med in Japan Newsletter No.3 December 2012