GPHC announces 1st paediatric liver resection in Guyana

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) proudly announces the successful completion of the first paediatric liver resection in Guyana. This groundbreaking surgery was performed on an 18-month-old female patient from Linden, diagnosed with a rare and aggressive paediatric liver cancer known as hepatoblastoma.

The patient’s journey began with a diagnosis of the large, aggressive tumour, which prompted the formation of a multidisciplinary team led by Guyanese Paediatric Surgeon, Dr. Marisa Seepersaud. The goal was to provide the best chance of survival for the young patient.

Treatment commenced with a series of chemotherapy sessions, administered by GPHC’s oncologist, Dr. Archer, and her dedicated team. The radiology team, led by Dr. Vyphius, meticulously monitored the tumour’s response to treatment. After five chemotherapy sessions, the tumour had shrunk by approximately 50%, making surgical removal a viable option.

Given the unprecedented nature of the procedure in Guyana, two hepatobiliary specialists were invited to assist the local team in performing the complex surgery, which involved removing about half of the baby’s liver. Ensuring the patient’s safety during the operation, senior consultants from the anaesthetic department, Doctors Fernando & Arturo, provided their expert care.

Dr. Colin Abel, Head of Paediatric Surgery and Liver Transplant at Busta Mante Hospital for Children in Jamaica, and Professor Steven Dunn, Paediatric Surgeon and Head of Solid Organ Transplant at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Delaware, USA, volunteered their expertise for the critical tumour removal. Dr. Seepersaud worked alongside these renowned surgeons throughout the procedure.

“The surgery was a formidable undertaking involving many complex and critical steps and equipment,” stated Dr. Seepersaud, the local lead paediatric surgeon. The patient’s mother expressed confidence in the team’s management and consented to the surgery.

On Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 the nine-hour operation concluded with the complete resection of the tumour. Dr. Seepersaud expressed her gratitude to the GPHC administration for their swift response in facilitating the assistance of the visiting surgeons. Both Dr. Abel and Professor Dunn have shown interest in continuing their support for the Paediatric Surgical department, an offer for which the Paediatric Department is immensely grateful.

GPHC takes pride in the dedication and commitment of the local team, who collaborated across multiple specialties to ensure a successful outcome. The paediatric surgical, nursing and anaesthetic team performed exceptionally well, despite the unprecedented nature of the case in Guyana.

The paediatric critical care team continues to monitor the baby, who is expected to be discharged soon. Due to the liver’s regenerative capacity, the patient is anticipated to have normal liver function as she grows. Mortality rates for major liver resection surgeries range from 5% in developed countries to as high as 31% in less experienced regions.

The duration from admission, diagnosis, treatment, and surgery was ten weeks at GPHC. Additionally, two other paediatric patients with uncommon tumours also benefited from surgeries during the team’s visit. A 1-year-old female and an 8-month-old female, both with large sacrococcygeal teratomas, have been successfully treated and discharged.

The GPHC administration has expressed interest in future collaborations to benefit Guyanese children requiring surgical care. This historic achievement marks another significant advancement in paediatric surgical care in Guyana. [Press Release]