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liver transplant patient The patient, third from left, and her 'angels.'

Liver transplant is a first for Mexico

24-year-old patient gets new organ in operation at federal employees' hospital

Medical personnel at the Federal Employees’ Social Security Institute, ISSSTE, have performed Mexico’s first successful liver transplant, providing a replacement organ for a patient with sickle cell anemia (SCA).

SCA belongs to a group of blood disorders that are passed on genetically and results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells. Problems in sickle cell-related diseases typically begin at five to six months of age, while long-term pain may develop as patients get older. The average life expectancy in the developed world is 40 to 60 years.

The national transplant coordinator and the director of the November 20 Medical Center reported that Ximena Arredondo Silva, 24, is now one of 18 SCA patients in the world who have undergone a successful liver transplant. It was a historic event for Mexico, said the director.

An innovative strategy was designed for the operation based on aphaeresis techniques, or the removal of blood plasma from the body by the withdrawal of blood, its separation into plasma and cells, and the reintroduction of the cells.

“We replaced 70% of her sick red blood cells with healthy blood from donors; this procedure was performed before and after the transplant,” said one of the specialists.

The surgeon in charge, Carlos Flores Zorrilla, explained that the procedure was arduous and lasted nine hours, during which everything turned out fine.

After the transplant was over, the patient was kept under tight medical observation. Twenty-four hours later she suffered a hepatic artery thrombosis and was rushed to an emergency operating room where her blood circulation was reactivated and the artery repaired,” said Flores.

“Having access to ISSSTE has been really important to survive this condition,” said Arredondo. “I’ve had access to innovative but expensive treatments, like hepatic dialysis and constant blood transfusions; I needed 60 donors just for my transplant.”

She sees the medical and nursing team at the November 20 hospital as her “angels in white coats, they’re the best in the world.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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