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Boy having two livers operated upon

June 24, 2003

ISLAMABAD, June 23: For the first time in the medical history, an eleven-year-old boy of Rawalpindi having two livers was successfully operated upon in one of the private hospitals of the capital.

Imran Tariq, now stable but still in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital, was operated upon by paediatric surgeon Dr Mumtaz Hussain for repair of a congenital defect in his diaphragm — a partition between the chest and the abdomen — on Sunday.

During the surgery it was revealed that the boy was having two livers — one in the abdomen and another fully developed separated one with its independent drainage and vascular system in the right chest — in addition to the small and large intestines.

Despite having CT scan, the fact that Imran was having two livers remained undiagnosed, perhaps no one could expect two livers in any human being.

Dr Mumtaz told Dawn that during the five-hour- long operation, both the intestines and the fully-developed liver were brought back into the abdomen by extending the skin of the abdomen through plastic surgery. “This was mandatory to relieve pressure on the lungs and the heart to save his life, though otherwise extremely difficult procedure.”

Before the surgery, Imran had been unable to eat solid foods as it used to cause breathing difficulty and constipation. Since his birth, the surgeon added, the boy had been living only on milk or other liquid supplements.

He was earlier treated by different doctors and hakims as a case of pulmonary tuberculosis or repeated pneumonias. The wrong treatment due to wrong diagnosis had badly affected the boy’s health and the right side of the lung could not develop fully due to the administration of wrong medicines.

However, Dr Mumtaz said, the boy, who would remain in the ICU for a few days, would be able to eat solid foods. “In fact, we have started giving him light solid foods,” Dr Mumtaz said.

However, he cautioned that the parents had to take extra care and protect the boy from getting any type of injury as it could be fatal for him because his liver was just inside the skin of the abdomen.

Had the boy not been operated upon, he could encounter a potential danger of liver trauma in future, leading to serious emergency due to rupture of the liver. He said the boy could be a potential liver donor in future for having two livers.

Dr Mumtaz declared the presence of two livers one of the unique cases. The surgery has brought a great honour to Pakistan and also a major great development in the research work, he claimed.