Organ transplantation technology needs new policy

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VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam’s organ transplantation technique is now on equal footing with developed countries, experts say.

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Vietnamese surgeons are capable of conducting complex operations

The news about a young girl agreeing to donate her cornea before dying of a brain tumor has touched people’s hearts. The organ transplant center saw a sudden surge in the number of people registering to donate organs after their deaths.

This was unusual because most Vietnamese believe they need all their body parts for the afterlife.

According to Dr Nguyen Tien Quyet, former director of the Vietnam-Germany Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Vietnam, organ transplantation is the only solution for patients with terminal organ dysfunction. 

Vietnamese surgeons are capable of conducting complex transplantation operations, but the country lacks a sufficient number of donated organs to transplant.

Vietnamese surgeons are capable of conducting complex transplantation operations, but the country lacks a sufficient number of donated organs to transplant.

Quyet estimated that about 7,000 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant, and thousands for a liver or heart transplant, but there are no organs for transplantation. 

The number of patients waiting for corneal transplants has reached 1,000.

There are two choices for patients with renal failure: they can receive dialysis, or a kidney from others. Meanwhile, patients with terminal heart failure will die if they don’t have a heart transplant operation. 

Livers and kidneys for transplantation can be sourced from the living and heart-dead, but hearts for transplantation can be sourced only from the brain-dead.

Speaking about organ transplant techniques, Quyet said that Vietnam's technique is approaching world levels. At the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital, surgeons can conduct a heart, liver and two kidney transplant operations if there is one brain-dead donor.

Unlike Vietnam, in other countries, each hospital specializes in only one type of organ transplant.

“The hospital once carried out seven organ transplant operations – 3 kidney transplant operations with organs from living people, 2 kidney transplant operations from brain-dead people, and one liver and 1 heart transplant operations,” Quyet said.

He said that if patients with kidney failure choose dialysis, they will have to undergo dialysis three times a week for their entire lives, which is costly. If they have an organ transplant, they will recover just one week after the operation and can return to work after several months.

Regarding treatment cost, Quyet said a kidney transplant operation costs VND300 million. This is a burden on patients, but they will continue living and create wealth after they recover. 

Not only Vietnam-Germany Hospital, but other large hospitals in Vietnam such as Cho Ray, Hue Central Hospital, Vinmec, Bach Mai, and Military Hospital 103 all can carry out the operations.

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