Who may need a liver transplant?
Liver failure is a medical condition that occurs when a major part of the organ is damaged and can’t function properly. End-stage liver disease or failure can occur rapidly in a matter of a few weeks and this is known as acute liver failure, or it may occur slowly over a period of months and years which is chronic liver failure.
There can be multiple causes and diseases that may ultimately lead to liver failure. This includes chronic viral infection with Hepatitis B and C virus, liver tumor, fatty liver, alcoholic cirrhosis, and bile duct abnormalities such as primary biliary cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and biliary duct atresia.
Hepatitis B and C are the two most common viral infections that affect thousands of people across the world and cause liver failure. Although, there are effective vaccine for hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be cured by drugs.
Primary liver cancer can also develop in chronically diseased livers and sometimes grows rapidly so that no treatment is effective. If diagnosed in early stages through screening, when the size of the tumor is small, it can be successfully treated with liver transplant.
After liver transplantation
The life after transplantation is mostly the same as before, but there will be some minor restrictions such as eating hygienically prepared (washed and cleaned) food, living in clean surroundings, avoiding people with active infection and regular tests as per the doctor’s recommendations. It is important for the patient to comply with all the instructions and immunosuppressive medications as prescribed.
When is liver transplant needed?
End-stage liver failure is a life-threatening condition for which patients are indicated a liver transplant. The following conditions may lead to liver failure:
- Chronic hepatitis infection
- Alcoholic cirrhosis
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Biliary atresia
- Fatty liver disease
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Wilson’s disease
- Acute Liver Failure
- Metabolic Disorders
What medical tests are recommended before a liver transplant?
The medical team conducts extensive medical evaluation for the donor and recipient. Some of these tests are:
- Blood Group matching
- Virology tests
- Computed tomography (CT scan)
- Doppler ultrasound
- Echocardiogram to assess heart-health status
- Cancer tests in case of liver cancers
- Lung function tests
- Kidney function tests
- Other blood tests
What happens during the screening for Liver Transplant Donors candidates?
A candidate undergoes thorough evaluation for complete health check up, to evaluate for the presence of liver disease, alcohol or substance abuse, liver cancer, or infections such as AIDS, hepatitis or others. This is done for all the potential liver donors. Also, liver transplant donors must be
- 18-55 years old
- Have good mental health
- Voluntary opt for organ donation
- Have no major medical condition that increases the health risks during the surgery.
The suitable candidates are screened for the tests to determine compatibility with the recipients. These include
- Blood type
- HLA testing
- CT scan to assess the volume and fat in the liver
- MRI to assess bile duct – this might be optional