Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Success For New Hospital Procedure

By Tracy Zupancis Hoya Staff Writer

Three months after a team of doctors from Georgetown University Hospital completed a liver transplant from a living donor in the D.C. area, the livers of both donor and recipient have regenerated, a sign of success according to hospital officials.

Eighteen-year-old Shannon Liller suffered from an uncommon form of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. A large tumor had developed in her liver, causing near constant pain and difficulty eating. Initially, Shannon underwent chemotherapy because her tumor was too large to be removed without dangerously damaging her liver. After six months of therapy, Shannon’s tumor had decreased in size, and doctors decided that she would be a viable candidate for a liver transplant.

Shannon’s mother, Carla Liller, reviewed possibilities with her daughter. With the knowledge that Shannon would be placed on a national waiting list for a donated liver, the family began to consider the option of a living donor transplant and asked Lynt Johnson, director of Georgetown’s Transplant Institute to consider Shannon for the procedure. A donor would need to have a similar liver size and have the same blood type.

Carla Liller fit these specifications, and agreed to be her daughter’s donor. Sixty percent of her liver was removed and given to Shannon. Surgeons Johnson and Paul Kuo performed the operation, aided by two doctors they had trained under who had experience in living donor operations. Both of these doctors were associated with Harvard University.

Director of Anesthesia at the Transplant Institute Dr. Jeffery Plotkin, who oversaw the anesthesia and post-operative critical care, noted that both Carla and Shannon had “done really well, and were out of the hospital within a week. The plan is for Shannon to undergo more chemotherapy, but that’s on more of a cautionary basis. As of yet, there has been no reoccurrence of the cancer.”

Plotkin explained that the chief risk concerning a liver transplant is the possibility of excessive bleeding. The liver receives blood from the intestines as well as the heart, and any removal necessitates careful consideration of arteries.

Living-donor operations not only allow a recipient to stay off of a waiting list and receive an organ in a shorter amount of time but also free up space on national organ waiting lists for recipients not under consideration for the living donor option.

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