First liver transplant on pregnant woman in Taiwan revealed

08/20/2019 03:05 PM
photo from a private contributor
photo from a private contributor

Taipei, Aug. 20 (CNA) Taiwan successfully completed a liver transplant on a pregnant woman for the first time last year, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH) announced Monday.

The operation on a woman in her third month of pregnancy was also only the third recorded anywhere in the world in which the woman also gave birth successfully, according to the hospital.

The case was unveiled Monday at a hospital event promoting organ donation in which the patient, surnamed Mou (牟), appeared to tell her story.

Hospital publicists had been unaware of the significance of the surgery until it was planning the event and decided to take advantage of the occasion to make Mou's story known.

The 34-year-old Mou said she experienced a loss of appetite and nausea after she became pregnant in March 2018 and thought they were only early pregnancy symptoms.

But Mou, an inactive carrier of chronic hepatitis B, was later found to be suffering from an acute hepatitis infection that had the potential to develop into life-threatening liver failure, said Lee Wei-chen (李威震), head of CGMH's Chang Gung Transplantation Institute, at Monday's event.

Five to 10 percent of pregnant women have such infections after seven months of pregnancy, but it was unusual that Mou experienced the disease in the 14th week of her pregnancy, Lee said.

To prevent Mou's heath from deteriorating, a liver transplant was performed on Mou in May after a donor match was found, said Lee, who led the team that performed the transplant.

The surgery was successful in not only replacing Mou's liver but also in keeping the vital signs of the baby stable throughout the operation, and postoperative medications did not stunt the child's growth, Lee said.

Mou recovered well after the transplant and gave birth to her child in November 2018.

A CGMH spokesperson told CNA it found five previous liver transplants done on pregnant women internationally, but that in only two cases did the mother give birth successfully.

At Monday's event, the hospital also called for more organ donations, saying that the 330 organ donations each year in Taiwan fall far short of the 9,800 people on waiting lists for a transplant.

(By Wu Jui-chi and Chi Jo-yao)


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