Three years ago, a 30 year old software engineer had complained of severe stomach ache. After an emergency laparotomy was conducted, doctors diagnosed thrombosis (blockage) in the main vein of his intestine (superior mesenteric vein), resulting in a lot of blood loss to most of his small intestines. 95% of his small intestine (usually six meters long) had to be surgically removed, leaving just 28 cm of the original. Although his life was saved, it meant that he would never be able to eat solid food orally.
A team of 30 doctors at a leading Gurgaon hospital evaluated and counseled the patient for an intestinal transplant and put him on the waiting list. The patient waited for two years before he got lucky with a matched organ when, in November 2012, the doctors found a perfect match.
According to the doctors, joining the vessels was the first challenge as both the artery and the main vein of the intestine were clotted.
“This necessitated grafting of extra conduits to the aorta and the portal vein to construct new source of blood supply for the transplanted intestine. The joining of the blood vessels is always difficult in such cases due to the curled up nature of bowel which makes it likely for the vessel joints to twist, which can destroy the transplanted bowel rapidly. We kept the last 20 cm portion of the new intestine diverted to open on the abdominal wall to enable repeated endoscopy and biopsy of the intestine for possible rejection,” said Soin.