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Following 4 Liver Transplants Due to Yellow Fever, Clínicas Hospital in SP Preps Medical Centers

01/24/2018 - 11h17

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CLAUDIA COLLUCCI
FROM SÃO PAULO

After performing four liver transplants to treat fulminant hepatitis caused by the yellow fever virus - three of which took place this past week - the Clínicas Hospital in São Paulo began training other health institutions in the country so that they can also perform the procedure: one that is unprecedented the world over.

The first transplant center to be certified was Unicamp. On Tuesday (the 23rd), doctors pertaining to 11 different Brazilian hospitals underwent training in order to carry out the procedure.

The patients who received transplants, all of whom were suffering from hepatic failure, fell ill in December, are between the ages of 16 and 27, and were infected in Mairiporã and Franco da Rocha, in the Greater São Paulo area.

The first patient to undergo the procedure, a 27-year-old engineer, was discharged from the ICU on Tuesday (the 23rd) after almost an entire month under intensive care. She can respond to stimuli but is still unable to verbally communicate with others.

"When she arrived, she was in a worrying condition. The transplant was her only chance", said Luiz Carneiro D'Albuquerque, the head of abdominal organ transplants at the Clínicas Hospital, as well as a professor at the University of São Paulo.

Before coming across the engineer's case, there was doubt as to whether the transplant would be effective given that the virus can attack and take over other organs, such as the pancreas, heart and kidneys. "It's a systemic disease. The virus is everywhere", said Mr. Carneiro.

It was when they came across the engineer's case of the yellow fever that his medical team was given the green light for the procedure.

According to Mr. Carneiro, the cases demonstrated that transplants are a therapeutic method capable of saving patients who are in critical states.

One challenge, though, is the "devastating cost". It is estimated that R$ 3 million to R$ 4 million (US$ 930,000 to US$ 1.25 million) were spent on the four patients.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Andre Penner/Associated Press
A woman receives a vaccine against yellow fever at a public health center, in Sao Paulo, Brazil
A woman receives a vaccine against yellow fever at a public health center, in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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