Liver Transplantation

Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a healthy liver from a deceased or living donor is transplanted into a person whose liver is no longer functioning properly. The procedure is typically performed to treat end-stage liver disease, including liver failure and liver cancer.

 

Liver transplantation is a complex and demanding procedure that requires a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including transplant surgeons, liver specialists, anesthesiologists, and nurses. The procedure usually takes several hours to perform and requires a hospital stay of several weeks.

Overview

Before a liver transplant, a person must undergo a thorough evaluation to determine if they are a suitable candidate for the procedure. Factors that are taken into consideration include the stage and type of liver disease, overall health, and medical history.

 

After the transplant, a person will need to take immunosuppressant drugs to prevent rejection of the new liver. These drugs suppress the immune system to prevent it from attacking the new liver, but they also increase the risk of infection and other complications.

 

Overall, the success rate of liver transplantation is high, and the procedure can greatly improve the quality of life for people with end-stage liver disease. However, it’s important to note that not everyone is a suitable candidate for a liver transplant, and the procedure does carry some risks and potential complications.

 

It’s important to work closely with a transplant team to determine if liver transplantation is the right treatment option for you and to discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure

UNOS

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is a non-profit organization that manages the organ transplant system in the United States. UNOS was created in 1984 by the U.S. government to develop and implement a national computerized system for matching organ donors with transplant candidates.

 

UNOS is responsible for maintaining the national organ transplant waiting list, which is used to match organ donors with transplant candidates based on medical criteria such as blood and tissue type, body size, and medical urgency. UNOS also manages the distribution of organs and ensures that organs are allocated fairly and equitably to candidates on the waiting list.

 

UNOS also plays an important role in the education and training of healthcare professionals involved in organ donation and transplantation, as well as in the collection and analysis of data on organ donation and transplantation.

 

UNOS operates under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is governed by a Board of Directors made up of transplant surgeons, transplant physicians, organ procurement organization (OPO) representatives, and representatives from the public.

 

UNOS is committed to improving the donation and transplantation system to save more lives and enhance the quality of life for transplant recipients. It also works closely with other organizations, such as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that organ donation and transplantation are safe, effective, and equitable for all.

Criteria

Liver transplantation is a complex and demanding procedure, and not everyone is a suitable candidate for the procedure. There are several criteria that are used to determine if a person is eligible for a liver transplant.

  • End-stage liver disease: a person may have end-stage liver disease, which means that the liver is no longer able to function properly and the person’s health is at risk as a result.
  • Medical urgency: a person’s medical condition may be considered urgent, which means that the person is at risk of dying within a short period of time if a transplant is not performed.
  • Ability to tolerate the procedure: a person must be healthy enough to tolerate the procedure and the recovery period.
  • Compliance with post-transplant care: a person must be willing and able to comply with the required post-transplant care, which includes taking immunosuppressant drugs and ideally following a specific diet and exercise plan.
  • Absence of certain medical conditions: a person must not have certain medical conditions that would make the procedure too risky, which can be determined during the transplant evaluation process.
  • Age: there is no age limit for liver transplantation, but older patients may have a more difficult recovery and may not be suitable candidates.
  • Lifestyle factors: a person must not have lifestyle factors that would increase the risk of complications after transplantation, such as heavy alcohol consumption, or active substance abuse.

It’s important to note that these criteria are not fixed and can vary depending on the individual case, and the transplant team will make the final decision based on the specific case.

FAQs

A liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which a diseased or damaged liver is replaced with a healthy liver from a donor.

People with advanced liver disease or liver failure may be candidates for a liver transplant. The decision to undergo a liver transplant is typically made by a team of doctors based on the severity of the liver disease, the person’s overall health, and other factors.

The success rate of liver transplant depends on several factors, including the person’s overall health, the severity of the liver disease, and the availability of a suitable donor liver. The overall survival rate after a liver transplant is typically over 90% after one year and 70% after five years.

The recovery time after a liver transplant can vary depending on the person’s overall health and the complexity of the surgery. Typically, people spend several weeks in the hospital after a liver transplant and several months recovering at home.

The lifespan of a transplanted liver can vary depending on several factors, including the person’s overall health, the cause of the original liver disease, and the success of the transplant surgery. In general, a transplanted liver can last anywhere from several years to several decades.

A liver donor is typically chosen based on several factors, including blood type and overall health. The donor must also undergo a thorough medical evaluation to ensure that they are healthy enough to undergo the surgery and donate a portion of their liver.

Yes, a living person can donate a portion of their liver to a person in need of a liver transplant. The remaining portion of the donor’s liver will regenerate over time. Living liver donation can be a life-saving option for people who are in need of a liver transplant.

The time it takes to find a suitable donor liver for transplant can vary depending on several factors, including the person’s blood type, the severity of their liver disease, and the availability of donor livers in their area. In some cases, people may need to wait several months or even years for a suitable donor liver to become available.

During a liver transplant surgery, the person’s diseased liver is removed, and a healthy liver from a donor is implanted. The surgeon then connects the blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver, and the incision is closed.

Liver transplant surgery is a major surgical procedure that carries several risks, including bleeding, infection, rejection of the donor liver, and complications from the use of immunosuppressant drugs.

Rejection of a transplanted liver occurs when the person’s immune system recognizes the new liver as foreign and attacks it. This can lead to damage and dysfunction of the transplanted liver. To prevent rejection, people who undergo a liver transplant must take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their life.

The recovery time after a liver transplant can vary, but it typically takes several months to a year to fully recover. During this time, people will need to take immunosuppressant drugs, attend regular follow-up appointments with their doctor, and make lifestyle changes to support their overall health.

Yes, it is possible for a person to undergo multiple liver transplant surgeries if the new liver fails or the liver disease returns. However, the success rate of subsequent liver transplant surgeries may be lower than the success rate of the initial surgery.

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