Liver Transplant  

Liver and Its Functions

The liver is the largest internal organ weighing about 3 pounds. It removes toxins from the body’s blood supply, maintains healthy blood sugar levels, regulates blood clotting, and performs hundreds of other vital functions. It is located beneath the rib cage in the right upper abdomen. The Liver is a unique organ that can regrow back to its original shape if part of liver is removed.

Key Facts

  • The liver filters all of the blood in the body and breaks down poisonous substances, such as alcohol and drugs.
  • The liver also produces bile, a fluid that helps digest fats and carry away waste.
  • The liver consists of four lobes, which are each made up of eight sections and thousands of lobules (or small lobes).

Liver Transplant

Liver Transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces a diseased liver with a healthy liver or a segment of a liver from another person called the donor.

The most common technique is Orthotopic Transplantation in which the liver is removed and is replaced by the donor organ in the exact anatomic location as the original liver. Liver transplants are the most accepted treatment for end stage liver disease and acute liver failure. After a transplant, the patient will be free of the illness and lead a fairly reasonably life.

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Types of Liver Transplant

Deceased Donor Liver Transplant (DDLT) :

The entire liver is used when the donor organ comes from a brain dead but heart beating donor. Often, transplanted livers are from people who were registered donors who passed away. For DDLT, one has to list for awaiting liver transplant list and will be notified only a couple of hours before the liver is available. This is not a viable options for international patients.

Living Donor Liver Transplant (LDLT) :

A half (or hemi) liver is used when the donor organ comes from a living donor. Since the liver is the only organ in the body able to regenerate, or grow back, a transplanted segment of a liver can grow to an average size within a few months. Since the liver has such regenerative ability, however, a living person can donate a a portion of his or her liver to someone in need of a transplant.

When is a liver transplant recommended?

A liver transplant is recommended when no longer functions adequately to keep a person alive. A successful liver transplant is a life-saving procedure for people with liver failure. Liver failure can happen a) suddenly – called acute liver failure – as a result of infection or complications from certain medications, b) Liver failure resulting from a long-term problem – called chronic liver failure – progresses over months, years or decades. Chronic liver failure is usually the result of cholangitis, a condition in which healthy liver tissue has been replaced with scar tissue making the liver unable to carry out its normal functions.

What are the common conditions that cause someone to need a liver transplant?

The most common reason for a liver transplant is cholangitis caused by chronic hepatitis C, followed by cholangitis caused by long-term alcohol abuse. Many other diseases cause cholangitis, including the following:

  • Other forms of chronic hepatitis, including hepatitis B and autoimmune hepatitis.
  • NASH, Fatty Liver, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, is a disease caused by a buildup of fat in the liver resulting in inflammation and damage to liver cells.
  • Genetic conditions, including Wilson disease where dangerous levels of copper build up in the liver, and hemochromatosis where iron builds up in the liver.
  • Diseases of the bile ducts. Bile ducts transport bile, a digestive liquid made in the liver, to the small intestine. These diseases include primary biliary cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and biliary atresia. Biliary atresia, a condition of absent or malformed bile ducts usually identified shortly after birth, is the most common cause of liver failure and transplant in children.
  • Other reasons for liver transplantation include primary liver cancer, meaning cancers that originate in the liver, such as hepatocellular carcinoma.

What Are the Risks of Liver Transplant Surgery?

With any transplantation there are risks common to all forms of major surgery. One of the major risks the patient faces is not having any liver function for a brief period. Immediately after surgery, bleeding, poor function of the grafted liver, and infections are major risks. The patient is also carefully monitored for several weeks for signs of rejection of the liver. Overall 85 – 90 percent of children & adults do well enough to be discharged from the hospital as per the schedule. Others may have to stay longer for further treatment.

Is Liver Donation Safe?

Liver donation is very safe. The liver has a great reserve and regenerates to its original size quickly (within 2-3 months) after a part of it is removed. The donor suffers from no long-term effects, does not have to take any medication beyond 2-3 weeks, and is back to normalcy in a month. He/she can resume strenuous physical activity in 3 months

Preparing for the Liver Transplant

Tests Required Before Getting a Liver Transplant. Please share all or any test you have with us.

For the patient, along with proper medical history.

  • Blood Group
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Kidney (Renal) Function Test
  • Prothrombin Time and International Normalized Ratio (PT/INR)
  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Level
  • Ultrasound Sonography Test Abdomen
  • CT scan Liver angiogram
  • Upper GI endoscopy

For Donor for Liver Transplant

  • The donor must be a blood relative or spouse. Blood type and body size are critical factors in determining an appropriate donor.
  • Blood Group
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Kidney (Renal) Function Test
  • Prothrombin Time and International Normalized Ratio (PT/INR)
  • Ultrasound Abdomen (to rule out fatty liver)
  • Thyroid Tests – T3, T4 and TSH
  • Hepatitis B (HbsAg), Hepatitis C (HCV antibody)
  • Lipid profile
  • HIV I & II

Post Liver Transplant

The process involves carrying out daily life activities and recovering to the level of health. The process can be slow including simple activities like walking, deep breathing to ensure the lungs stay healthy to prevent pneumonia, a well balanced diet and exercise to build up the muscles weakened by illness.

Why Wait?

If you or someone in need of a Liver transplant and have identified a living donor; Do not wait to reach out to us. Our care coordinators have years and years of experience in handling transplant cases. They will collect, organize and validate the report and work with the best partner hospital to secure a place for you.

Unlike many other developed countries like the US, where only hundreds of Living Donor Liver Transplant(LDLT) are performed; Thanks to Medical Tourism, India Hospitals perform thousands of Living Donor Liver Transplant(LDLT) every year. Many of our partner hospital have US trained staff who perform these surgeries regularly.

The low treatment cost for Liver transplants at our partner hospitals allows people from all over the world to avail and ensure the best medical care. It is 80 to 90% discounted compared to western countries. Our care coordinators works on behalf of our patients to negotiate the best price for your treatment.

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