If all other options to retain the normal working of the liver fails, the doctor recommends a liver transplant and replaces the non-functioning liver with the healthy one. The general outcome of the transplant is that one would be free from all the complications and will be leading a fairly normal life.
When is a Liver Transplant Needed?
Acute Liver failure can occur anytime because of major infections or complications from certain medications. It may also be linked to some other long-term medical condition.
The reasons for a transplant include the following:
Source of Liver Donor:
This donor liver is removed from a person who is already diagnosed as brain dead and the donor's family is willing to donate the organ for transplantation. People who are lucky to get cadaver donors need to wait and waiting time varies with the availability of the donor liver.
Living donor can be a family member (generally parents, siblings, child or someone emotionally close to the patient) to donate part of their liver for transplantation. The donor is thoroughly evaluated by the team to make sure that there would not be any complications to the donor or the recipient.
The Transplant Team requires the patient to undergo a cardiac workup to make sure his/her heart is strong enough to withstand the treatment.
If the patient was a smoker or has a lung disease it may need the following tests:
The Transplant Surgery
One needs to take an admission to the hospital during the transplant and get prepared for the surgery.
Patient and his family is informed by a physician from the transplant team to come over to the hospital once the donor liver is available. If there is any sort of infection then the transplant needs to be postponed immediately. But if the team plans to take it forward to the operating room, the patient is admitted the same day. A team of surgeons will be monitoring the surgery to remove the organ from the donor’s body. In some of the cases they can even find something which bars them from performing the transplant, as the organ is not suitable for the patient. In that case the surgery needs to be postponed. In most of the cases the organ is in good condition as series of other tests have already been done before.
Living Donor Transplantation:
This is a much planned operation, hence the both of the donor and the recipient need to undergo presurgical Tests before the transplant, these test include Blood tests, Chest X-Ray, EKG and so many other ones. The donor needs to be admitted to the hospital atleast 7 days before the surgery.
Once the necessary procedures are completed surgeons may contact the family of the patient. The patient may be attached to a cardiac monitor, intravenous lines, tubes, and drains in the Intensive Care Unit When the condition of the patient stabilizes he/she is being transferred to the regular rooms. The average length of the total process is like two to three weeks.
Life after a Liver Transplant
The first thing one has to keep in mind after operation is the tendency to catch infection. Before one leaves the hospital the team would let the patient and his/her family know which all are the areas to taken care of. Most of the patients get back to their normal life within three months of the transplant. The goal of the surgical team is to provide best possible assistance an guidance to the patient.
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