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Organ transplants: hope and anxiety

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Vietnam is preparing for lung transplant operations for adults as well as transplantation of limbs, intestines and face with organs from brain-dead donors.

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Nearly 2,500 people have received heart, kidney and liver transplants, but there are still tens of thousands of people waiting for organ transplants.

Prof. Dr Trinh Hong Son, director of the National Coordinating Center for Human Organ Transplantation, and deputy director of the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital, said the center is preparing for a lung transplant operation for an adult in September. 

This follows the success of a child lung transplant operation in February.

According to Son, the hospital has been preparing for the operation with support from specialists from Japan, which has the highest percentage of successful lung transplant cases. The hospital is also preparing for the transplantation of womb, limbs and face. 

“Women of childbearing age will be able to give birth after uterus transplant operations. This is a very humanistic goal in the field of organ transplant because it helps give back motherhood to women,” Son said. 

Of the 2,500 organ transplant cases performed as of May 2017, there were 2,327 kidney transplant operations, 77 liver cases, 18 heart, one kidney & pancreas, one heart & lung, and one lung case. 

Son said Vietnam has made a breakthrough in organ transplant since 2013. From 1992 to 2012, only 933 organ transplant cases were carried out. In the last four years alone, 1,500 operations have been implemented.

However, according to Nguyen Hoang Phuc, deputy director of the center, the number of operations implemented is too modest compared to the demand in Vietnam. 

There are 6,000 people with chronic kidney failure who need kidney transplants. There are 300,000 people who are blind because of corneal diseases, including over 6,000 people waiting for corneal transplants. Hundreds of people are waiting for heart and lung transplants.

According to Son, Vietnam’s organ transplant technique is comparable to developed countries. The post-transplant survival rate in Vietnam is equal to that of those countries, while the rate is even higher in kidney transplants. 

The biggest difficulty now is the lack of organs donations. There are around two to three people who are brain-dead daily at Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital and Cho Ray Hospital.

However, in the last six years, only the families of 40 people agreed to donate organs.


Source: VietNamNet

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