UPDATE : Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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AMC succeeds in living donor liver transplant on US patient
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.02.25 14:07
  • Updated 2019.02.25 14:43
  • comments 0

Asan Medical Center said Monday that it has completed a liver transplant from a living donor to a U.S. patient.

Charles Carson (second from right) and his wife celebrate his birthday with hospital staffs at the Asan Medical Center in southeastern Seoul, Friday.

According to the hospital, Charles Carson, who works as a software engineer in the U.S., discovered he had cirrhosis of unknown etiology and bone marrow dysplasia syndrome while visiting a hospital in 2011.

Bone marrow dysplasia syndrome is a disease that can cause immune dysfunction, infection, hemorrhage, and progression to chronic leukemia due to a decrease in blood cells such as platelets and white blood cells because of abnormal hematopoietic stem cells.

Carlson went to Stanford University Hospital and received more than 10 cycles of chemotherapy for bone marrow dysplasia syndrome. However, his liver function deteriorated, forcing the hospital to discontinue his treatment and placed him on the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Despite being on the list, the long waiting time became a problem as there were high uncertainties whether or not he would get a brain-dead liver transplant. The fact that he could not continue with chemotherapy for bone marrow dysplasia syndrome due to liver disease was another problem. All this has led to Carlson’s only option -- a living donor liver transplant.

However, all liver transplant centers in the U.S. were relatively inexperienced in the surgery method and were reluctant to undergo surgery as they were unable to guarantee recovery after surgery because of his accompanying bone marrow disease.

After discussing his options, one of the doctors at Stanford Hospital recommended AMC to Carlson. He also found out that the hospital had conducted the largest number of operations in the field with the highest survival rate of 97 percent in the world for living donor liver transplant.

Using the liver of Carlson’s wife, the AMC team conducted transplant surgery to Carlson on Dec. 19, 2018. However, Carlson, who had problems with bone marrow functions, did not recover from the transplant sooner than anticipated and had to go to the intensive care unit for a long time.

Due to the proper treatment of the medical staff of AMC, he was able to recover and moved to a general hospital ward in February.

“Over the past two months, I was able to concentrate on the recovery without inconveniences, thanks to the care given to my health by all the medical staffs at AMC,” Carlson said. “I am grateful to all medical workers at the AMC.”

AMC Professor Lee Seung-kyu said, “Although the U.S. medicine has developed and advanced brain dead liver transplants, it is coming to learn medicine from foreign medical scientists. Korea is recognized for its excellence in living donor liver transplant. The fact that Stanford University Hospital, one of the top ten hospitals in the U.S., recommended AMC is highly encouraging.”

The hospital will continue to focus on for patients who need transplantation, Lee added.


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