Almost 400 liver transplants in Cuba in 29 years

Based on an orginal article from ACN | Friday, 12 February 2016 | Click here for original article

Cuba has carried out nearly 400 liver transplants since it first began the procedure in 1986.

Dr Jose Antonio Copo Jorge, head of the group of abdominal organ transplants at Hermanos Ameijeiras Surgical Hospital (HHA), told ACN that the results are similar to those of the world’s wealthiest nations, despite the limitations faced by Cuba due to the blockade of United States for over 50 years.

In the United States, the average cost of a liver transplant is $314,000. In Cuba, the operation is free.

Dr. Copo Jorge notes that liver transplantation is one of the most complex operations to perform. The HHA carried out its first liver transplant in 2002 and now has performed a total of 106 such surgeries to date, including a total of 16 in 2015.

The United States first carried out the procedure in 1963, but due to the blockade, the development of the liver transplant capabilities of Cuba was severely affected. As in most medical specialties, many of the materials and equipment used come from American companies, including the Wisconsin University solution, which is used to preserve the organs.

This ensures the best results in the transplant, but as it is manufactured and marketed by the US Company Dupont Pharma, Cuba cannot access this product because of the blockade.

Therefore Cuba was forced to acquire an alternative, lower-quality European product, with the consequent risk of worse-performing results and the higher cost of freight charges, Dr. Copo Jorge added.

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