Almost 400 liver transplants in Cuba in 29 years

Havana, Cuba, Jan 26 (acn) – Cuba has carried out nearly 400 liver transplants since it began this complex proceeding on January 26, 1986, to date, at Hermanos Ameijeiras Surgical Hospital (HHA by its Spanish acronym) in this city.

PhD. Jose Antonio Copo Jorge, head of the group of abdominal organ transplants of that institution, exclusively told ACN that the results are similar to those of first world nations, despite the various limitations of Cuba due to the blockade of United States for over 50 years.

Currently, these grafts are done at the HHA, the Center for Medical and Surgical Research (CIMEQ by its Spanish acronym) and William Soler Pediatric Hospital, the latter with a living donor program, he said.

The program for that purpose stopped by the special period and restarted in CIMEQ in 1999, HHA in 2002 and William Soler Hospital in 2005, recalled the expert.

According to statistics, in the first world countries the cost of a liver transplant in the first year ranges from 75,000 to 150,000 dollars, and Cuba is offered for free.

Dr. Copo Jorge notes that such transplantation is the most complex due to the peculiarities of the patient and the surgery that includes within the multidisciplinary group high level anesthetists and surgeons who make dissections and vascular anastomosis necessary to remove the diseased organ and graft the healthy one.

He clarified that liver transplantation is a common therapeutics disseminated worldwide to treat patients with acute or chronic liver irreversible illnesses, for which there are no curative treatments.

Since 2002 the group of the HHA was created and it was reopened the liver transplant program, which is developed by the dedication, effort and pursuit of surgical excellence of the multidisciplinary group and they now total 106 such surgeries to date.

The HHA carried out 16 liver transplants in 2015, and acquired two electrosurgical equipment of last generation, said Dr. Copo Jorge, who added that the new phase is colored by the development of different programs and improved survival and quality of life of these patients.

The blockade has also significantly affected the development of this activity, as in the United States, where the first transplants were done in 1963, the training of Cuban multidisciplinary groups has been impossible in the northern nation, he stated.

As in most medical specialties, many of the materials and equipment used come from American companies, including the Wisconsin University solution, which is used to preserve the organs.

This ensures the best results in the transplant, but as it is manufactured and marketed by the US Company Dupont Pharma, Cuba had to dispense with such a valuable product, he said.

Therefore, it acquired another one of lower quality in Europe, with the consequent risk for the results and the cost of freight charges, he added.

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