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First liver transplant without interruption of blood circulation performed in Italy

A sigh of relief from the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa, where an unprecedented procedure in the history of Italian medicine has concluded. The young patient was discharged from the hospital less than 20 days after the surgery, and just 3 days after intensive care at the hospital. This is the first liver transplant in Italy without stopping the blood circulation.

Innovative technique: a first in Italy

Before the pioneering procedure at the San Martino Polyclinic led by Dr. Enzo Andorno, an organ transplant without interrupting blood circulation had never been performed. The team constantly perfused the transplanted liver from an obese man and kept it at a stable temperature until re-implantation. Thanks to the perfusion machine, the chances of rejection or damage during the surgery were minimized.

Ospedale Policlinico di Genova - San Martino
Policlinico di Genova (San Martino) | Credit

The new surgical approach was necessary because the donor was obese and had a fatty liver, making it very fragile and sensitive to interrupted circulation. As reported by Dr. Enzo Andorno, without this procedure, the liver likely would not have resumed its normal function once transplanted into the young recipient’s body. Even more remarkable was the outcome achieved, considering the initially critical conditions due to the state of the transplanted liver.

Liver transplantation in Italy holds significant importance. Between 2000 and 2020, 24,000 liver transplants were performed, and with this milestone, Italy claims the top spot in Europe for the absolute number of liver transplants.

A new frontier in Italian medicine has been reached, and we hope that over the years, the technique will become increasingly efficient, allowing a broader spectrum of patients to return to normalcy as soon as possible.

The words of the Liguria region’s health assessor are very auspicious: “Scientific and technological research in the field of transplantation in recent years has sought strategies to ensure the transplantation of organs that until a few years ago would not have been usable because they were considered marginal, not suitable, and at risk.”

If you want to know more about the situation of doctors in Italy, or the latest interventions of national excellence, such as the issue of liver transplant:

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