A team of Taiwanese surgeons last year performed the nation’s first liver transplant on a pregnant woman, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital said on Monday.
The woman, surnamed Mou (牟), was three months into her pregnancy at the time, the hospital said, adding that it was the third such operation worldwide in which the patient completed the pregnancy.
The operation was revealed at a hospital event promoting organ donation, at which Mou told her story.
Hospital publicists said that they had been unaware of the significance of the surgery until they started planning the event and decided to use it to make her story known.
Mou, who is now 34, said that she experienced a loss of appetite and nausea after she became pregnant in March last year and thought they were early pregnancy symptoms.
However, Mou, who is an inactive carrier of chronic hepatitis B, was later found to have an acute hepatitis infection that had the potential to develop into life-threatening liver failure, said Lee Wei-chen (李威震), head of the hospital’s Chang Gung Transplantation Institute.
Five to 10 percent of pregnant women develop such infections seven months into pregnancy, but it was unusual for Mou to have it in the 14th week of her pregnancy, Lee said.
To prevent Mou’s health from deteriorating, a liver transplant was performed in May after a matching donor was found, said Lee, who led the team that performed the transplant.
The team was successful in not only replacing Mou’s liver, but also in keeping the vital signs of the fetus stable throughout the operation, he said, adding that postoperative medication did not stunt the fetus’ growth.
Mou recovered after the operation and gave birth in November, Lee said.
The hospital called for more organ donations, as the 330 donations per year in Taiwan fall far short of the 9,800 people waiting for a transplant.
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