Liver Transplant Helps Newborn Thrive

Stories of Caring

Liver Transplant Helps Newborn Thrive

Samuel Ojeda was just 20 days old when his liver needed to be replaced. Born with idiopathic neonatal hemochromatosis (NH), an often deadly disease that causes toxic levels of iron to accumulate in the liver and other organs, Samuel would have died without the delicate and challenging surgery. HARMONIC FOCUS® Shears and the right surgical expertise helped achieve the best possible outcome.

Dr. Alejandro Costaguta, Samuel's surgeon, from the Hospital del Niño de Rosario, started preparing Samuel’s father to be a live donor when, at the last minute, a liver became available. Dr. Martín Fauda, from Hospital Universitario Austral, immediately flew in from Pilar Aires and, together with Dr. Costaguta and staff, prepped for the 12-hour surgery on Samuel — the youngest liver transplant patient in Argentina.

This was a breakthrough surgery in Argentina, where a hepatic transplantation surgery, to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person, takes place every six hours. Typically three surgeons and two anesthesiologists are involved, with up to four supporting nurses. The surgical procedure is very demanding and ranges from four to 18 hours depending on outcome. By any standard, hepatic transplantation is a major surgical procedure with an appreciable degree of risk, especially when the patient is just 20 days old.

“We had to reduce the size of the donor´s organ as we could only fit 25 percent of it in his body. This type of liver transplant usually has a very high mortality rate, so having the necessary technology and expertise for this was critical for the outcome of the surgery,” said Dr. Fauda.

Dr. Fauda states that the liver dissection and resizing was made possible with the versatility and precision of HARMONIC FOCUS® Shears. “We cannot state enough the importance of these tools in such surgeries,” he said.

After the surgery, Samuel´s mother, Valeria Bouvier, said that her son already has a healthier look, is being breast fed and his organs are working accordingly.

Today, Samuel is a healthy baby.

From the 2013 Johnson & Johnson Annual Report