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Organ transplantation technology needs new policy: Experts

March 19, 2018 | 11:45

Vietnam’s organ transplantation technique is now on equal footing with developed countries, experts say.

(VNF) - Vietnam’s organ transplantation technique is now on equal footing with developed countries, experts say.

The news about a young girl agreeing to donate her cornea before dying of a brain tumor has touched people’s hearts. The organ transplant center saw a sudden surge in the number of people registering to donate organs after their deaths.

This was unusual because most Vietnamese strongly believe they need all their body parts for the afterlife, and families of donors have also been caught up in rumors about selling organs for money.

Organ transplantation technology needs new policy: Experts

Vietnamese surgeons are capable of conducting complex operations. (Photo: VNA)

According to Dr. Nguyen Tien Quyet, former director of the Vietnam-Germany Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Vietnam, organ transplantation is the only solution for patients with terminal organ dysfunction.

Vietnamese surgeons are capable of conducting complex transplantation operations, but the country lacks a sufficient number of donated organs to transplant.

Quyet estimated that about 7,000 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant, and thousands for a liver or heart transplant, but there are no organs for transplantation.

The number of patients waiting for corneal transplants has reached 1,000.

There are two choices for patients with renal failure: they can receive dialysis, or a kidney from others. Meanwhile, patients with terminal heart failure will die if they don’t have a heart transplant operation.

Livers and kidneys for transplantation can be sourced from the living and heart-dead, but hearts for transplantation can be sourced only from the brain-dead.

Speaking about organ transplant techniques, Quyet said that Vietnam's technique is approaching world levels. At the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital, surgeons can conduct a heart, liver and two kidney transplant operations if there is one brain-dead donor.

Unlike Vietnam, in other countries, each hospital specialises in only one type of organ transplant.

“The hospital once carried out seven organ transplant operations – 3 kidney transplant operations with organs from living people, 2 kidney transplant operations from brain-dead people, and one liver and 1 heart transplant operations,” Quyet said.

He said that if patients with kidney failure choose dialysis, they will have to undergo dialysis three times a week for their entire lives, which is costly. If they have an organ transplant, they will recover just one week after the operation and can return to work after several months.

Regarding treatment cost, Quyet said a kidney transplant operation costs VND 300 million (USD 13,200). This is a burden on patients, but they will continue living and create wealth after they recover.

Not only Vietnam-Germany Hospital, but other large hospitals in Vietnam such as Cho Ray, Hue Central Hospital, Vinmec, Bach Mai, and Military Hospital 103 all can carry out the operations.

Astonishing progress in organ transplant

Vietnam continued to make much progress in organ transplantation to save people with fatal illness.

Last week, doctors at the 108 Military Central Hospital announced on March 16th that they successfully performed the first lung transplant from a brain dead donor in Vietnam, marking a huge step forward in the tissue and organ transplant field of military doctors, opening more opportunities for patients in Vietnam with dangerous diseases.

To date, the hospital has successfully performed 18 kidney, one liver, 27 marrow and 14 corneal transplants.

Organ transplantation technology needs new policy: Experts

Doctors at the Military Hospital 108 perform the first lung transplant from a brain-dead donor in Vietnam. (Photo courtesy to the Military Hospital 108)

Amongst ten outstanding events of the health sectora in 2017, Leading hospital Cho Ray in Ho Chi Minh City set up eight Vietnamese records in the transplant area recognised by the Vietnam Book of Records including "the hospital that performed the first kidney transplant from a brain-death donor in Vietnam"; “the first to carry out a kidney transplant procedure from a non-heart-beating donor in Vietnam"; "the unit performs the most kidney transplants in Vietnam"; "organising the transport of the longest journey for a donated organ from South to North to save people"; "implementing the first kidney transplant from a brain-death donor in Vietnam"; "carrying out the first kidney transplant from the first non-heart-beating donor in the country" ; "organising the longest transport route for a donated organ from the South to the North in order to save people" ; and "implementing the first cross kidney transplant in Vietnam."

For the first time, the Military Hospital 103 and their Japanese counterparts in February, 2017 performed a successful lung transplant on a six year old boy.

Next, Vietnamese surgeons carried out ten-hour heart transplant operation on ten year old boy Nguyen Thanh Dat who suffered the last stage of heart disease in March, 2017 in Vietnam - German hospital./.

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