3-year-old Iraqi girl saves elder brother by donating bone marrow
A three-year-old girl from Iraq saved the life of her elder brother by donating her bone marrow. Ahmed, 18, underwent a successful bone marrow transplantation surgery at Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru. Ahmed was referred to the Bengaluru hospital after he underwent splenectomy in Iraq.
The doctors at the hospital said that the boy was also suffering from symptomatic anaemia (needing frequent blood transfusions) and jaundice.
Dr Mallikarjun Kalashetty, consultant - Haematology, Haemato - Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation - at Manipal Hospital, said that the patient required an allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
"The best donors for such patients are the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched siblings who are normal or with a minor form of haemoglobinopathy (a hereditary condition involving an abnormality in the structure of haemoglobin) or thalassaemia (a blood disorder involving lower-than-normal amounts of an oxygen-carrying protein)," Dr Kalashetty was quoted saying.
The surgery was not easy for the medics considering the age of the donor, Ahmed's three-year-old sister and the language barrier.
The process was challenging as transfusion experts required the processing of 8-10 litres of blood from the donor who weighed 18 kilograms and had only a blood volume of about 1.3 litres.
"Considering her age, the donor had to be sedated to elicit cooperation during apheresis (extracting blood and separating components) in multiple sittings and preserve the stem cells through cryopreservation. To counter the low volume of blood going into the apheresis machine, we filled the dead spaces with compatible RBC, and to reduce the fluid overload, we determined and monitored the volume of the fluid going into the body of the child," Dr C. Shivaram, consultant, transfusion medicine said.
"He did have few complications after transplantation like mucositis, febrile neutropenia, and viral reactivation, which were successfully managed," Dr Kalashetty said.
Ahmed has recovered from the disease and his quality of life has improved after the surgery. His parents are happy to see him doing well.