Living With Liver
Television News Service/Medical
© Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. October 2000
Newswire) -- For people waiting for kidney transplants, dialysis can
help them survive until an organ is available. For heart patients,
there are mechanical devices to keep the heart beating. However for
liver patients, the outlook has been bleak. Now, a new procedure
increases survival six times over. This keeps them alive while
waiting for a donated liver.
For Jim Gerron, a day to relax with his dogs, Joey and Daisy, is
a day to cherish. "I really don't think I had a whole lot of time
left," he remembers.
Jim had liver cancer. A transplant was his only hope for
survival. That could take months -- time Jim didn't have. He
explains, "Had the cancer spread outside the liver I would not have
been eligible for a transplant."
Interventional radiologist Mahmood Razavi, M.D., of Stanford
University Hospital in Palo Alto, California, found a way to keep it
"If you will, putting a town under siege, you block the supply of
food to the city and you block the outflow," says Dr. Razavi.
In the same manner, he delivered toxic drugs through the
artery that brings oxygen and food into the tumor. The exit artery
was blocked off.
Dr. Razavi adds, "And then we could give very highly toxic drugs
that would kill the tumor without any complications or impact on the
rest of the body."
Jim's tumor shrank drastically. Eight months later he got his
transplant and a second chance at life.
Jim says, "Medically I think we're living in an exciting age.
We're fortunate for it. Otherwise I wouldn't be here, that's for
He's now back to enjoying the beauty of his garden.
The same procedure is also being used to treat patients with
tumors of the kidney, lung and bones. Dr. Razavi says it can be used
in patients who are older or who have another medical condition that
would make them ineligible for a transplant.