10 Facts Everyone Should Know about Liver Transplant

liver transplant in India

The liver is the largest internal organ. Liver transplant is the medical procedure to replace a non-functional liver with a healthy one. It is also called hepatic transplant. This procedure can help save a life when the liver fails to function to its potential. The treatment involves surgical removal of the damaged liver and replacing it with a healthy liver. The healthy liver can either come from a living person or a deceased donor. 

The liver transplant cost may range between 20-25 lakhs in India. There are several factors that influence the cost of the transplant. 

The liver helps to digest food in the body, detoxify harmful wastes from the body, and provides nutrients to the body. A healthy liver is essential for a healthy life. Liver transplantation is the final treatment when all other treatment options have been eliminated. It usually is performed in end-stage-liver-disease or cirrhosis. 

Liver transplant survival statistics:

According to a statistics report, there is a chance of 89% of living after one year of liver transplantation which is the longest liver transplant survival rate. The five-year liver transplant success rate in India is 75%. In some cases, the transplanted liver may fail or the liver disease may relapse. It is important that your doctor monitors your recovery to detect any problems at an early stage. This will require regular blood tests. You may also be required to take lifelong immunosuppressant medications so that your body doesn’t reject the new liver. 

Problems after liver transplant:

A liver transplant is a major surgery that comes with certain complications including:

  • Organ rejection 
  • Bile duct leakage or damage
  • Failure of the donated liver
  • Bacterial infection
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Sepsis
  • Death
  • Blood clots
  • Hernia
  • Lung failure 
  • Multiple organ failure 

The major risk after a liver transplantation is liver failure. Often, there are chances for your body to reject the new liver. A liver transplant also puts your body at high risk of infection. 

Why is a liver transplant performed?

Thousands of liver transplant surgeries are performed around the world. A liver transplant is a treatment option to treat end-stage liver disease otherwise a person may die of liver disease. Liver diseases disrupt the functioning of the liver which can be life-threatening. When medications fail to keep the liver functioning, doctors will suggest undergoing a liver transplant operation. The most common reason is cirrhosis where the liver is scarred and hardens leading to improper functioning of the liver. 

Following are causes of Cirrhosis:

  • Excess consumption of alcohol
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Chronic hepatitis B and C 
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Biliary atresia in children below 12 years  

Liver transplantation to cure chronic liver disease will depend on the following conditions:

  • Severity of conditions
  • Mental well-being
  • Other medical conditions that you have 
  • Support of family or friends
  • Family history of tuberculosis or HIV 
  • Overall physical health condition

Your doctor will study if you are fit to receive a liver transplant by performing certain tests and physical examinations. If the doctor finds you unfit meaning there is a chance of liver failure or a chronic condition that may affect the success of a liver transplant then you may not undergo a transplant procedure. 

Waiting for a liver transplant:

Once your doctor declares you fit for the liver transplantation, you’ll be put on the national waiting list. The waiting period will be determined on the basis of a model of end-stage liver disease (MELD) score. This score is based on blood test such as:

  • Measuring of the level of creatinine: This shows how well the kidney is functioning
  • Checking your international normalized ratio: This shows how well your liver is making blood-clotting proteins. 

People with higher scores of MELD are considered sicker and are placed highest on the national waiting list. Regular blood tests are conducted to check the MELD score and accordingly, the patient is put up on the list. There is another score called pediatric end-stage liver disease (PELD) for children below the age of 12 years. 

Liver transplant surgery also depends on the good match with a qualifying donor. 

When a match is found:

A liver transplant procedure does not consume a lot of time rather waiting for a perfect donor can be time-consuming. The liver can either come from a living donor with a healthy liver and fit to donate part of his/her liver. However, the living donor needs to be a good match in terms of blood type and other factors required for successful transplantation.

Recovering from a liver transplant:

After the successful implantation of the healthy liver, the recovery period begins. It takes a 3-week hospital stay where you will be monitored whether the liver is functioning properly. After that, you’ll be discharged and instructed to take good care at home. 

The entire recovery process may take up to 1 year to get back to a normal life. 

Tips for a healthy liver:

For a healthy liver, one must modify few changes in the lifestyle. Adopt a healthy eating diet and regular physical activity. This will also reduce the risk of transplant rejection. You may also limit alcohol, quit smoking, maintain a healthy body weight, avoid over-the-counter drugs and lower cholesterol levels in the body for healthy living. Life after liver transplant may soon return to normalcy with a healthy lifestyle and taking medications at the prescribed time. 

Summary:

10 Facts Everyone Should Know About Liver Transplant:

These are the 10 facts listed for people who are lazy enough to read the complete detailed article. But don’t worry, we got you covered!

  1. A liver transplant is required when the liver fails to function to its potential mainly because of end-stage liver disease.
  2. Cirrhosis (scarring and hardening of the liver) is the most common cause leading to a liver transplant.
  3. A healthy transplanted liver may either come from a deceased donor or a living person donor.
  4. The five-year survival rate of liver transplant patients is 75%.
  5. The first successful liver transplant was done in 1967.
  6. According to statistics, around 1 lakh people in India every year die of liver failure. 
  7. A liver transplant is the second most transplanted operation after the kidney transplant. 
  8. Before getting approved for the national waiting list, you are evaluated to see if you’re fit to receive the liver translation.
  9. A liver transplant is a life-saving therapy. 
  10. Liver transplants have high survival and success rates.