"Dr. Tomoaki Kato’s Latest Technical Developments in Organ Transplantation

“Dr. Tomoaki Kato’s Latest Technical Developments in Organ Transplantation
Dr. Tomoaki Kato is the founder and Vice President of Fundahígado America along with Dr. Pedro Rivas Vetencourt, President of this institution, they have been the main advocates of pediatric liver transplantation surgery with a live donor in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Dr. Kato is also the Surgical Director of Adult and Pediatric Liver and Intestinal Transplantation at New York Presbyterian Hospital, as well as professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He is known internationally in the field of transplantation for his innovative techniques performed in adult and pediatric patients, including a six-organ transplant.

Among his innovations on this subject, Dr. Kato has developed a transplantation technique from a living donor, which has been used in over 30 pediatric patients with 100% success rate for every case.

What is a partial transplant?

The technique consists in removing a portion of the failing liver and attaching it to a portion of the donor’s liver to help it recover.

This procedure uses a part of the organ’s left side, making sure it remains unharmed as well as the donor’s partial liver.

These cases’ success rate has been absolute, with 100% of patients surviving this procedure.

It is worth mentioning that over half of the patients treated with this innovative technique have been withdrawn from immunosuppressive treatment, which has significantly improved their quality of life.

Six- Organ Transplant Procedure

Dr. Tomoaki Kato is also known for leading a team of doctors at Presbyterian Hospital in New York, during the performance of Heather McNamara’s surgery, who at 7 years of age had to have her stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver and both intestines removed in order to take out a malignant tumor the size of a tennis ball.

This complex intervention went on for over 23 hours. The team of surgeons kept the child’s organs alive during the procedure the same way it would have been done in a regular transplant, by placing them in low temperature while they removed the tumor.

USA Today reported this event as the history’s highest-risk surgery ever performed.

Despite the efforts of the medical team led by Dr. Kato, they were unable to save three of the child’s organs because the cancer had extended to her stomach, pancreas and spleen. To replace the stomach, (because she would not have survived without it) the team of surgeons created a bag out of intestinal tissue, capable of retaining food until it passes on to the small intestine. However, the child now requires a pumping device to help her eat.

She will also need insulin injections for the rest of her life; as well as enzymes to help her digest food because her pancreas’ removal has made her diabetic.

In spite of these conditions, this technique has made the patient’s survival possible. For this reason, the medical community considers this an advance that points out the way for future investigation in the field of transplantation surgery.

Until now, there has only been one case similar to Heather’s in the world, but this was the first time a team of surgeons performed a satisfactory intervention of this nature on a pediatric patient.

Dr. Tomoaki Kato and Fundahígado America

We are proud to have Dr. Tomoaki Kato’s support as part of our directive, where he serves as Vice President of this non-profit organization, dedicated to the educational formation of healthcare specialists in the area of liver transplantation and whose objective is to assist the most vulnerable areas of Latin America and the Caribbean.

If you wish to learn more about Dr. Tomoaki Kato’s work, the Foundation, our Educational Program or how to contribute to this cause, go to:

URL: www.fundahigadoamerica.org

Or in Social media on:

TW: @fundahigadoamer

Fb: @Fundahigadoamerica


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Génesis is 3 years old and was born in Costa Rica with a congenital liver disease.


Elías is a young adolescent with an advanced liver disease.


Jin received a segment of his father´s liver in May 2015.