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One Liver Split For Two Transplants

October 6, 1997

ATLANTA (AP) _ Surgeons at Emory University Hospital said Monday they have performed the first split-liver transplant in Georgia in which the organ was split in two and given to a woman and an infant.

Parts of the liver, from a deceased donor, were given to Linda Eaves, 42, of Rockmart and 1-year-old Mattison Hall, of Toccoa, in Sept. 20 operations.

Ms. Eaves received the larger portion of the liver in an operation at Emory University Hospital and is expected to be released Wednesday. Mattison, who received the transplant at Egleston Children’s Hospital, should be released Tuesday.

Split liver transplants, hailed as a means of overcoming shortages in donors, are more complicated than simply paring down the organ because doctors need to divide a common artery and bile duct.

``What makes this type of procedure possible is the fact that the liver can partially regenerate itself,″ said Dr. Thomas Heffron, who performed the transplant on Mattison. ``The portions now in the patients adapt to the patient’s bodies and most likely will grow to be healthy, normal organs.″

Livers used in split transplants must be young, healthy and weigh enough to support each patient’s body.

Heffron was part of a team of doctors at the University of Chicago who first performed split liver transplants in the United States in 1988, according to Emory University.

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