Physician: Dr. Ajay Sahajpal

Health Care Heroes

Dr. Ajay Sahajpal

Dr. Ajay Sahajpal
Medical director, abdominal transplant
Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center

Dr. Ajay Sahajpal
Dr. Ajay Sahajpal

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are approximately 3.2 million people in the United States living with chronic hepatitis C.  The infection causes severe inflammation and damage to the liver over time.

Patients living with chronic hepatitis C typically end up needing a liver transplant. The innovative and cutting-edge approach to treatment from Dr. Ajay Sahajpal, transplant surgeon and medical director of abdominal transplant at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, is helping people all over the world.

“The Economist” has recognized Sahajpal as a global Hepatitis C Change Maker.

He was the first surgeon in the U.S. to utilize a technique known as “En Bloc” or “together, at the same time” in which the kidney and liver are stitched together and then transplanted into the patient with a singular incision to the patient’s upper abdomen.

The organs are transplanted as a single implant, versus the traditional technique in which each organ is implanted through a separate incision

Historically, an abdominal surgery of this nature would come with an increased risk of complications, longer surgeries and a longer recovery time.

The new En Bloc procedure allows organs to better adapt to the patient’s body, while also allowing for faster recovery because of the single incision and the less invasive technique.

“The Aurora St. Luke’s Transplant program is solely focused on providing the best outcomes possible for people in need of organs,” Sahajpal said. “We are constantly looking at how to improve the care we provide through innovation and better processes.”

The procedure has been published in the American Journal of Transplantation and is having a ripple effect on the medical community.

The Abdominal Transplant program at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center performs roughly 40 liver transplants each year.

Surgeons across the nation and in Europe have been trained on the En Bloc procedure.

The Economist’s The Path to Zero website and campaign, through which Sahajpal was named a Change Maker, recognized him as one of 18 global leaders who meet the program’s criteria for efforts that are innovative, replicable, scalable and financially feasible, and make a meaningful impact on the total elimination of Hepatitis C.

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