Liver: Transplant linked to heart saves little girl

Liver: Transplant linked to heart saves little girl.


A 5-year-old Chinese girl, born in Turin, has successfully passed a difficult transplant. The operation was performed by connecting the donor’s liver with the recipient‘s heart. The operation was performed at the Molinette hospital of the Città della Salute in Turin


The little girl was in China when she developed hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer. The first treatments proved useless, so the little girl was taken to Italy to the Regina Margherita children’s hospital in the Città della Salute in Turin. Finally, after a year of continuous treatments, the solution of liver transplantation is found. 

However, the situation is complex. The girl’s inferior vena cava is thrombosed and blocked between the renal veins and the right atrium of the heart. So the little girl is immediately scheduled to receive a super-emergency liver transplant. Thus the opportunity for a willing and compatible liver is seized. Here the transplant is performed with access to the heart from the abdomen via the transpericardial route. The whole hepatic vena cava with the donor liver can be implanted directly on the right atrium of the child’s heart. The little girl made it through the surgery successfully and was discharged from resuscitation after a few days. The little girl is currently undergoing post-operative recovery.


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