Johnathan and Ali are recovering and doing well today following their late June liver transplants—Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s first-ever domino liver transplant involving a pediatric recipient. The transplants were led by McGowan Institute faculty member George V. Mazariegos, MD, director of Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation.
Domino transplants are so named for the sequential nature of the transplants—an organ from a deceased donor is transplanted into the first recipient. The first recipient’s organ is then transplanted into a second recipient. Last year, Children’s surgeons were involved in a domino transplant involving two adult recipients.
Johnathan Devantier, 9, of St. Louis, was diagnosed as a newborn with maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), in which the body can't process certain amino acids. He received a donor liver and his former liver was transplanted into Ali Al-Garni, 24, of Saudi Arabia, who suffers from a genetic disease that can cause liver failure.
Devantier's MSUD was not passed to Al-Garni in the surgery, said Dr. Mazariegos. The disease does not originate in the liver, but instead is caused by a lack of enzymes in the body, making a domino transplant possible, he said.
“Domino transplants are rare because there are very few conditions for which you can cure one patient with a transplant and then transplant his or her organ into someone else without passing on the disease. MSUD is one such disease,” Mazariegos said. “Children’s Hospital is uniquely poised to begin offering domino transplants as an option to more and more families.”
And this option—to take and give as well—is something that one mother is very grateful for.
“As a mother, that is the best option possible,” Dana Devantier, Johnathan's mom, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Not only did someone else's gift save Johnathan, but he was able to save another person.”
Illustration: Johnathan Devatier, 9 (right), is introduced to Ali Al-Garni, 24, of Saudi Arabia. – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (07/18/07)
Philly Burbs (07/18/07)
Find Law (07/18/07)
Associated Content (07/18/07)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (07/19/07)
Associated Content (07/19/07)
Medical News Today (07/19/07)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (07/21/07)
Hepatitis C Information Central (07/27/07)