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Inola family has hope after split-liver transplant

Troy Yoder, a 3-year-old boy from Inola, was close to dying until he received a split-liver transplant that doctors say saved his life. He is recovering at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: February 17, 2013

The transplant

Doctors performed a split-liver transplant on Troy. The procedure is exactly what it sounds like — doctors take an adult liver and split it.

Troy received about one-third of an adult liver from a donor in Texas, and an adult patient received the rest. This was only the third time doctors at Integris have performed a split-liver transplant on a child patient, Kohli said.

The liver can regenerate tissue, meaning Troy's liver will grow as he grows, Kohli said.

“(The liver) has the ability to regenerate and then stop at the right amount of size,” Kohli said. “It doesn't just continue regenerating. If it just continued to regenerate forever, it would be a cancer growth.”

Troy had been on the liver transplant waiting list for a while. Most of the people in Oklahoma who are on the liver transplant waiting list have been waiting at least a year.

Nationwide, about 16,500 people are waiting to receive a liver transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

In Oklahoma, about 220 residents are waiting for a liver transplant, according to the network. Of that, more than half of the people waiting, or about 136 people, are between ages 50 and 64. Two children in Oklahoma less than 1 year of age are waiting on a liver transplant.

Troy's 2-year-old brother, Kyler, also suffers from the alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. So far, he's healthy. His parents are working with doctors to monitor both boys.

Children included in a study regarding pediatric split-liver surgery showed overall good outcomes.

A study published in Annals of Surgery regarding the results of split-liver transplantation in children found that those with acute liver disease had a one-year survival rate of about 94 percent and a three-year survival rate of about 76 percent. Overall, the children included in the study had a six-month survival rate of 96 percent.

“These results, which represent the experience of a single institution over the last six years, indicate that ex situ split-liver transplantation can be performed in children with good overall outcome and acceptable morbidity,” the article reads.

Troy went home from the hospital Feb. 11. The day he went home, he didn't have much to say about his procedure. Rather, he was busy requesting orange sherbet from a nurse he has befriended during his time in the hospital.

“Ice cream,” he whispered to his mother until a Popsicle showed up from one of the nurses.

Troy and his parents spent Christmas, New Year's and Troy's birthday in the hospital. The Yoder family hopes that Troy's time in and out of the hospital is over.

Kohli said Troy is taking about eight medicines each day, and that should decrease to minimum medications over time.

“He's doing very well, and things are going well with him from the transplant standpoint,” Kohli said. “We have to be observant for simple things, like rejection and certain kind of infections that you're a little bit more prone for after transplants. We'll have to closely follow-up in that respect. He should have a normal life after this.”

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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