What Is A Liver Transplant?
The liver is one of the most vital organs of the human body. Proper liver function is required to sustain a healthy life. In liver diseases, the capacity of the liver cell gets reduced. Most of the diseases can be treated by non-invasive treatment methods while some diseases require surgery. Liver transplant is the last option when all the other treatment options do not provide adequate relief from the symptoms of the patient. Liver transplant is a surgical procedure of replacing a damaged lived with a healthy liver. People whose liver fails to perform the physiological functions require a liver transplant. It is also to be noted that the liver has the capacity to regenerate itself shortly after the surgery. This unique characteristic has made the living donor liver transplant as an alternative to deceased donor liver transplantation.
Which Patients Require Liver Transplant?
Liver transplant is the last resort for the people suffering from end-stage irreversible damage to the liver. There are various causes of liver failure. These include Hepatocellular CarcinomaCirrhosis, Cryptogenic Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Wilson’s Disease, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), Acute Liver Failure, Primary Hemochromatosis, Hepatitis B & C, Budd- Chiari Syndrome, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Alcoholic Cirrhosis, and Autoimmune Hepatitis. Before transplanting the liver to such patients, comprehensive health evaluation is done.
What Are The Risks With Liver Transplant?
The risk associated with liver surgery can be divided into two parts. The first part comprises of the risk due to liver transplantation surgery itself while the other part includes the risk and side effects due to potent medications.
The risk associated with liver transplant surgery: These risks include:
- Bile duct leakage
- Bleeding during surgery
- Blood clotting
- Liver rejection
- Donated liver failure
- Nervous system complications such as seizures
Side effects of medications: Potent anti-rejection medications are administered to the patient to avoid the risk of rejection. These medications have side effects such as:
- Increase serum glucose level
- Thinning of bones
What Is A Rejection Of Liver?
Various cells in the body protect us from external pathogens and other substances. These cells are known as immune cells and form a systematic and organized immune system. These immune cells spare our body cells as they are able to identify them through a specific mechanism. However, these immune cells also identify any foreign cell and start the immune reaction in order to damage those cells.
The liver which is transplanted is a foreign organ comprising of foreign cells. The immune system of recipient initiates an immune reaction against the transplanted liver. If the liver gets damaged by the immune system, it is known as a rejection of the liver. In order to avoid this rejection, various anti-rejection medications are administered to the patient.
What Is The Success Rate Of Liver Transplant?
With the advancement of technology and new and potent anti-rejection medications, the success rate of a liver transplant is drastically improved in recent years. The survival rate of liver transplant varies from patient to patient and depends upon the other health conditions along with liver failure. Age also plays a major role in liver transplant success.
In a general sense, the immediate rate of success of liver transplant is between 90-95%. For five-year survival is around 75%. This implies that almost 75% of the patients who have undergone liver transplant are able to survive for more than 5 years.
It is also to be noted that patients getting the liver from a live donor have more chances of survival as compared to a patient who gets a liver from a deceased donor.