The liver is the largest organ inside the human body. It helps digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. A liver transplant is a surgical procedure. During the transplant, a surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaced with a healthy liver from a living or deceased donor. Most transplant livers come from the donor who has died. although a liver may also come from a living donor.
The number of people waiting for new livers is much larger than the number of available deceased-donor livers, hence liver transplant is reserved for people who are critically ill. Some patient gets the liver right away whereas some patients may spend many months for a liver transplant.
Functions of the liver:
1. Preventing infection and regulating immune responses.
2. The liver produces elements necessary for the absorption of fats and vitamins.
3. The liver makes most proteins needed by the body.
4. Liver processes and removes drugs, alcohol and other substances generated in the body that may be harmful to our body.
5. The liver maintains the hormonal balances.
6. Removing bacteria and toxins from the blood.
7. Preventing infection and regulating immune responses.
Who requires a liver transplant?
People need a liver transplant when their liver fails due to injury or disease.
1. Liver damage due to alcoholism.
2. primary biliary cirrhosis.
3. By birth liver defect.
4. Biliary atresia- rarer diseases of the liver that affect newborns.
5. metabolic disorders associated with liver failure.
6. Biliary duct atresia.
7. Cystic fibrosis.
8. viral hepatitis.
9. Genetic disorders.
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Types of Liver Transplant
1. Deceased donor transplants
Most liver transplant comes from deceased donors means a person who has just died. During a deceased donor transplant, surgeons remove your injured or diseased liver and replace it with the donor’s liver.
The liver is also obtained from a patient who is brain dead. One’s brain dead patient is identified and deemed as a potential donor, the blood supply of his body is maintained artificially. This is a deceased organ donation principle. Patients who die of head trauma, brain haemorrhage or other causes of sudden death are the donors suitable for organ donation.
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2. Living Donor
Sometimes a family member will donate a part of his/her liver. The donor should be a healthy living person. The liver has the capacity to regenerate if a part of a normal healthy liver is removed. During a living donor transplant, surgeons remove a part of the living donor’s healthy liver. The surgeon will replace the diseased or injured liver. The living donor’s liver will grow back to normal size soon after the surgery.
Utmost safety is taken while selecting and operating live donor, as the donor’s safety is the first objective of whole processes.
- A potential donor should be.
- Be either spouse or relative.
- Have the same blood group.
- Be in good overall health and physical condition.
- Be older than 18 years and younger than 55 years of age.
- A donor should have a normal body mass index.
A Donor should not have:
- History of Hepatitis B or C.
- HIV infection.
- Active or frequent alcoholism use.
- Any drug addiction.
- Psychiatric illness currently under treatment.
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Risk Factor and Complications
There are risks associated with the procedure and with drugs necessary to prevent rejection.
Risk of significant complications, including:
1. Bile duct complications.
3. Blood clots.
4. Failure of the donated liver.
6. Rejection of the donated liver.
7. Mental confusion or seizures.
Anti-rejection medication side effects
After a successful liver transplant, you will recommend taking medication for the rest of your life to help prevent your body from rejecting the donated liver. These anti-rejection medications can cause a variety of side effects, Such as:
- Bone thinning.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.