Top 5 facts about liver transplant you should know
Posted On: April 19, 2023
Before jumping on to discuss the facts about liver transplant, let us briefly discuss the amazing function of the liver- the largest internal organ of your body that efficiently takes up the job of performing more than 500 functions of your body.
While cleansing juices and detox regimens are in trend nowadays to help you flush out toxins, your liver has been doing it for you since you were born with the production of bile juice. Bile juice is a digestive fluid that aids in the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and removes waste and excess cholesterol from the body.
Another interesting fact about the liver is that it is the only organ of the body that regenerates on its own. As per one of the transplant surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh, one only needs 25 to 30 percent of one’s liver for the optimal functioning of the body.
Other than an acute liver failure caused by infection or excessive use of certain medicines, liver failures happen due to cirrhosis, a late-stage liver disease that deteriorates the functioning of the liver slowly and leaves one with no option but a liver transplant. Cirrhosis is a condition in which one’s liver gets scarred and permanently damaged. Excessive alcohol consumption and liver cancer can also lead to liver transplant.
Throwing more light on this topic, Dr.Bhavin Vasavada, a Hepatobiliary and Liver Transplant surgeon working at Shalby Hospitals said, “Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is also one of the conditions that lead to the accumulation of fat in the liver which leads to a fatty liver. The risk factors for this are hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc. Even in case of Acute Hepatitis E (HEV) infection has been identified as an important cause of fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) and can also one of the factors for liver failure and in the long term person needs to go for liver transplant.
So even if a person consumes little or no alcohol can also succumb to liver failure leading to a liver transplant as the only recourse. Also, in India, the growing use of non-researched herbal medications is responsible for the liver failure cases.”
Let’s discuss some of the interesting facts about a liver transplant in detail:
Average Life Expectancy After a Liver Transplant
As per the statistics, almost 2,00,000 people die every year due to liver disease and around 50,000 to 60,000 require a liver transplant. Compared to western countries, India is still lagging when it comes to liver transplants. The reasons behind it are the unavailability of donors and the high liver transplant cost in India.
Liver transplant has good outcomes and the recipients have lived a normal life for over 30 years after the surgery. As per the data, 65% to 70% of people survive for more than 15 to 20 years post-liver transplant. However, the situation varies from person to person depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s body’s response to the surgery.
Types of Liver Transplant
There are three types of liver transplant surgery:
a. Cadaver Donor Liver Transplant: This surgery involves a transplantation of a liver from a person who has died recently.
b. Living Donor Liver Transplant: This surgery involves eliminating a part of the liver from a healthy living donor and implanting it into a person suffering from the end-stage liver disease. The liver of both the donor and the recipient grows back to the normal size in just 2 to 3 weeks.
c. Split Donation: This kind of transplant involves removing the liver from a deceased person and splitting into 2 pieces. Each piece is transplanted into a different person.
Is Liver Transplant Legal in India?
Yes, a liver transplant is legal in India under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (Act No.42, 1994). Under this act, the transplantation surgery must be performed by a registered medical practitioner at a well-established liver transplant hospital in India and should be done in a registered hospital. The transplantation must be conducted only if the donor is a close relative and in other cases, the prior authorization of the committee is required.
Can One Get Pregnant After Donating a Liver?
Yes, one’s fertility is least affected after donating a liver and also after receiving a liver. In both cases, one can have a baby but liver transplant surgeons would always advise you to wait for 1 year (preferably 2 years) to get pregnant, to avoid any risk of complications and pregnancy mishaps.
Can a Female Donate Liver to a Male or Vice Versa?
The compatible blood type is the only criterion that needs to be fulfilled for successful liver transplants without considering other criteria like tissue type, age, sex, etc. However, in recent surgeries, it was observed that gender-specific differences have led to a high failure rate of liver transplantations.
Now when you know how a healthy liver is important for your body, it is vital to eat balanced diet, maintain an ideal weight, avoid the use of illicit drugs and most importantly get your liver function tests done at regular intervals to check the health of your liver.
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