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Liver Transplantation: A Renewed Life

A liver transplant can be life-saving. When your liver does not function properly, it can lead to liver failure. You may need a liver transplant. Liver transplantation is a process where a patient’s ailing liver is replaced with a complete or partially functioning liver from another individual. The person from whom the healthy liver is taken is the donor. 

The functioning liver will be received from a donor, living or deceased. In most cases, liver transplantation is conducted as part of the cirrhosis of liver treatment.

Functions of the Liver

This vital organ has a range of functions such as:

● Getting rid of toxins and bacteria from the blood

● Synthesising many essential enzymes and proteins

● Bile production

● Processing hormones, nutrients and medications 

● Regulating immune responses

When Is a Liver Transplantation Required?

Liver transplantation is needed as the last treatment for liver failure. There is no mechanism or device that can consistently carry out all of the liver’s tasks. Patients require a liver transplant for the following conditions:

●     Cirrhosis of The Liver- Treatment (Chronic Failure Of The Liver)

When the liver is permanently scarred or reaches the final stage of scarring, it is cirrhosis of the liver. It results in poor functioning of the organ. Though there is cirrhosis of the liver treatment, diet and medication, liver transplantation is the only enduring cure. 

Fluid retention, jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding are the common symptoms of chronic liver failure. The reason behind this condition could be acute alcoholism, Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), viral hepatitis, genetic liver disorder, and auto-immune liver disease. Cancer of the liver can cause chronic liver failure.

As a part of cirrhosis of the liver treatment diet, alcohol consumption is entirely restricted. Alcohol abstinence for about six months is a pre-condition for transplantation. There are other dietary restrictions for a successful transplantation process. Liver transplantation is an opportunity for a renewed life.

●     Severe Liver Malfunction

This condition is also called fulminant hepatic failure. A previously well-functioning liver faces significant injury and results in medical signs and indicators of liver malfunctioning. The most common causes of severe liver failure are overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and viral infections. Intake of any toxin such as contaminated mushrooms and any drug reaction are reasons behind the condition. 

The characteristic feature of this health condition is the beginning of yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Within eight weeks of jaundice, there is the development of perplexity (encephalopathy).

Availability of Donors

The count of patients waiting for a transplant significantly surpasses the number of accessible deceased donor livers. Surviving donor liver transplant is a substitute process. With this option, you do not have to wait for the liver of a deceased person to be available. It is viable as the human liver revives and gets back to its standard size soon after the transplantation.

Complications of Liver Transplantation 

For cirrhosis of the liver treatment, liver transplantation is a recommended treatment in medical science. This transplantation surgery comes with a risk of considerable complications. 

These risks could be related to the process itself. It could also be associated with the medication required to stop rejection of the transplanted liver after the surgery. Procedural risks include:

● Complications in the bile duct

● Blood clotting

● Bleeding

● Malfunction of the transplanted liver

● Rejection of donor’s liver

● Infection

● Seizures or mental confusion

In the post-transplantation process, you will be on medication for your entire life. It will help in preventing your body from rejecting the transplanted liver. Such medications can result in a range of side effects, such as:

● Diabetes

● Bone thinning

● Diarrhoea

● High blood pressure

● High cholesterol

● Headaches

These anti-rejection medicines work by repressing the immune system. They also raise the chances of infection. Besides, there could be long-term issues like the reappearance of a liver ailment in the donated liver.

Patients Who Cannot Go for Transplantation

Though liver transplantation is effective in cirrhosis of the liver, not every patient is appropriate for the transplantation. Surviving the surgery and post-operative risks are a huge concern. 

The following conditions pose an obstacle for liver transplantation:

● Systemic or irrepressible infection 

● Active drugs or alcohol abuse

● Severe, irreparable medical infirmity leading to short-term life expectancy

● Acute pulmonary hypertension 

● Cancer that has spread beyond the liver

● History of non-cooperation, or failure to stick to a stringent medical regimen

● Severe psychiatric illness

Liver transplantation gives you a new life. However, optimum care and a disciplined lifestyle are necessary to make this new life function properly. 

Following liver transplantation, you need to consult your doctor regularly to ensure that the donated liver is functioning correctly. Regular blood tests will be required to know if your body indicates organ rejection.

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