The liver is the largest internal organ and performs several critical functions, including cleansing of blood toxins, regulating immune responses, and metabolizing nutrients and medications.
Over time, liver function may weaken due to lifestyle, genetic predisposition or infections. This can lead to chronic liver failure. The most common cause of chronic liver failure is cirrhosis. Hepatitis B & C, and chronic alcoholism can also lead to cirrhosis and subsequently chronic liver failure.
Chronic liver failure eventually goes beyond management by medication. Liver transplant is usually the last course of treatment for patients with end-stage chronic liver failure.
What is a Liver Transplant?
Liver transplant is the process of surgically removing an impaired liver and replacing it with a healthy liver from a living or deceased donor. As the human liver regenerates, living-donor liver transplant is comparatively a more viable alternative to cadaver transplants.
Steps of Transplantation
After admission, both patient and donor are physically examined, and several diagnostic investigations are conducted. This may include blood tests, x-rays and EKGs, among others
Surgery is performed under very close monitoring by multi-disciplinary teams where the impaired liver is removed, the new liver is placed and all essential parts, such as blood vessels and bile ducts are re-connected with the utmost care.
Surgery can take up to 12 hours, depending on the case.
What to Expect after Transplantation
- Patients have to spend a few days in the post-transplant intensive care and recovery unit
- Patients are monitored closely post-transplant for a few weeks. Fluids and medications are administered continually. Vital organ functions are closely monitored
- After discharge, follow ups are done for a month on alternate days, following which weekly checkups are conducted
- It is imperative that post-transplant medication be taken regularly and as advised.