PHOENIX (Reuters) - Surgeons in Arizona have successfully carried out a rare mother-to-child liver transplant, after a search for an organ from a deceased donor for the desperately ill 1-year-old girl came up blank, the hospital said.
In a procedure performed on March 20 by surgeons at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson, Vanessa Negrete, 26, from Yuma, Arizona, donated a section of her liver to her daughter, Aliyah Negrete.
Aliyah was released from the hospital this week. She and her mother were “doing great,” the hospital said in a statement on its website. The family was not immediately available for comment.
“We had been waiting for a liver from a deceased donor for several months for Aliyah, but none that was appropriate became available,” transplant surgeon Rainer W.G. Gruessner said in the statement.
“In order to halt Aliyah’s health from deteriorating any further, the decision was made to use a living donor. After extensive evaluations of family members, it was determined the best match was Aliyah’s mother,” he added.
Aliyah was diagnosed at age 2 1/2 months with a congenital condition called biliary atresia, which affects the liver’s ability to secret bile, causing cirrhosis and jaundice.
The rare and incurable condition strikes one out of every 10,000 to 15,000 newborns and is the leading reason for liver transplants in children.
During the transplant procedure, surgeons took about a quarter of the mother’s liver, of which a large portion was expected to regenerate itself, the hospital said.
Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney