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Deceased Donor Liver Transplant

Deceased Donor Liver Transplant

May 8, 2020


Deceased donor liver transplant is done by obtaining the liver from a deceased or brain-dead person and transplanting it to the patient with liver failure. Such transplantation is done based on a list prepared through MELD scores. The consent to liver donation may be given either by the deceased person during his life or by family members of the deceased.

What Is Deceased Donor Liver Transplant?

Liver transplant is required when there is liver failure and all the options to improve or maintain the efficiency of the liver gets exhausted. There are types of liver donors. Because of the unique property of the liver to grow into a complete liver from a part, a healthy living person may also be the donor. However, if the patient does not have any living relative who can donate a liver, he may have to wait until the liver is available from a deceased donor. A deceased donor is a person who has died either from bleeding in the brain or due to sudden accident and is declared brain dead. The liver from such deceased donor is donated based on their wish before their death or on the wish of their family members.

Regulation For Deceased Liver Transplantation In India

Organs are transplanted in India under the Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO). In the context of the liver transplant, the waiting list is prepared based on the Model End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score. This list is prepared at the state level. If the compatible liver is not available in a state, then the liver from other states may be transplanted. In the case of a cadaveric donor liver transplant, the international patients are placed at the bottom of the priority list.

What Is The Process Of Liver Transplant From A Deceased Donor?

In the case of a living donor transplant, the patient is relatively more relaxed as the date of a liver transplant is already decided. The patient has ample time to manage things. However, this is not the case with cadaveric or deceased donor liver transplantation. It is because the liver can be preserved outside the human body for 12 to 24 hours. The surgery should take place within 24 hours and thus the patient is called on short notice.

The liver is recovered from the deceased or brain-dead person and is preserved in the sterile fluid. The surgery is done under general anesthesia. The abdominal incision is done to expose the diseased liver. Bile ducts and blood supply are cut and damaged liver is removed from the body. The healthy liver is placed and the blood vessels and bile ducts are attached to the new healthy liver. The abdominal area is then closed with stitches and is bandaged. The surgery usually takes approximately 6 to 8 hours or maybe more depending upon various factors.

What Is The Recovery Time For Liver Transplant From A Deceased Donor?

Recovery in deceased donor liver transplantation is like living donor liver transplantation. The patient must take medications on time and visit the clinic for a regular check-up. Medications prescribed are immunosuppressants to prevent liver rejection by the patient’s immune system, and antibiotics to prevent infection. A routine check-up allows the surgeon to identify post-surgical complications, if any, and advise suitable medications. This also allows the surgeon to evaluate the functioning of the transplanted liver. Recovery from deceased donor liver transplant may be faster as compared to living donor liver transplant because of the full liver transplant in the former transplantation.