RMC Performs First Israeli Domino Liver Transplant

For the very first time in Israel's history, Rabin Medical Center (RMC) performed a domino liver transplant, in which one liver saved the life of two patients. This complex operation took ten hours to complete and required two separate operating theaters, as well as five surgeons, three anesthesiologists, an intensive care team and a blood bank. Only three hundred of these operations have been performed worldwide.

The first transplant recipient was 61 year old Arieh Tzbari, who suffered from a rare genetic disease, which caused a liver abnormality. According to Professor Ran Tur-Kaspa, director of the Liver Institute at RMC, this abnormality caused extensive damage to Tzbari's nervous system, which could have potentially affected his heart and digestive system. Tzbari needed a liver transplant in order to stop the progression of this disease. However, although his liver is damaging to his body, it is not to others. In fact, his liver can properly function in another person's body for a long time. Therefore, after receiving his transplant, Tzbari's liver was given to someone else in need.

That lucky recipient was 65 year old Hassan Zfady, a victim of advanced chronic liver disease, which is linked with liver cancer. His condition was so severe that he was placed at the top of the transplant list, and given this liver because doctors did not believe that they had time to find an exact match. Additionally, with the shortage of organs available in Israel, they really felt that they did not have time to wait. Professor Eytan Mor, director of the Department of Organ Transplantation at RMC, led these surgeries. He explained, "The main difficulty in this type of transplant is twofold; the technical part to maintain the adequate length of the three liver vessels (artery, portal vein, and hepatic vein) for both patients. The other problem is to coordinate the procedure between three groups of surgeons working parallel. Fortunately, the transplants were successful and we managed to help two patients at the same time, despite the severe shortage of organs available for transplantation in Israel."

In addition to Mor, the transplant team included Dr. Ezra Sharbani, Dr. Evgeny Solomonov, Dr. Sigal Eisner, and Dr. Eviatar Nesher. CEO of Rabin Medical Center, Dr. Eryan Halpern commended those involved; "I am sincerely proud of the professional medical team at our hospital, which carried out simultaneously these two very complex and challenging surgeries."

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