Liver Transplant surgery is one of the most critical life-saving procedures, which involves replacing a non-functional or diseased liver with a healthy one. The people opting for a liver transplant may have acute liver failure, last-stage liver disease, or even cancer. Basically, people who have no option for any sort of treatment for their liver are more eligible for transplant surgery. But, it is not as easy as said. The reason is that people opting for liver transplant surgery are put on the national waiting list.
What is a Liver Transplant?
It is a specialized surgical process, which is undertaken to replace a diseased liver with a healthy one donated by another person. In this, the doctors have to match the blood of the donor with that of the recipient to conduct a liver transplant. However, there are many other criteria to be considered for the procedure. In a liver transplant, the doctors might opt for a complete liver from a dead person or opt for a part of the liver from a living person. As known, the divided liver tends to grow to its full size.
The Need for Liver Transplant:
It is an essential treatment for people suffering from liver cancer or, any other chronic liver disease. In this matter, the liver stops working, and the patient might require immediate surgery. However, there are more people requiring liver transplant surgery than liver donors. Being the last-resort treatment, the perfect functioning of the new liver might not be guaranteed. The reason is that a few chronic liver diseases might affect the new liver too. But, the best thing is that the progress will be very slow on the new liver which would give enough time to the patient for proper treatment to fight away the disease.
Medical Conditions Treated by Liver Transplant:
Acute Liver Failure:
This medical condition occurs when your liver gets severely damaged. The damage might arise from poisoning or contamination in the liver. The patients having acute liver failure will show symptoms of liver inefficiency signifying that the liver has stopped working.
Chronic Liver Failure:
Identified as the last stage of chronic liver disease, which means that the liver tissue has been severely damaged by scar tissues without proper blood flow, This is also acknowledged as Cirrhosis of the liver. When the liver functioning starts breaking down, the patient will show signs of decompensated liver problems.
Primary Liver Cancer:
This form of cancer starts building up in your liver and can be identified as hepatocellular carcinoma. In this condition, a part of the liver having a cancerous tumor can be cut from your liver if the cancer is spread in a small part. But if the condition is worsened and the liver cancer is spread to the entire liver, opting for a liver transplant becomes necessary. These conditions can be life-threatening if not treated on time.
Eligibility Criteria for a Liver Transplant:
There has been a high demand for liver transplants, which makes it essential for the authorities to put people on the National Waiting List. Medical practitioners take certain criteria into consideration before finalizing or putting people on the waiting list for liver transplants.
- First of all, the patient needs to show clear signs of acute liver disease or cancer.
- Secondly, the patient does not have any blood pressure or diabetic conditions hampering surgery.
- Thirdly, the patient is not at risk of alcohol abuse in the future.
It is necessary that the medical practitioners will evaluate your entire health condition before opting for the operation. In this regard, patients with other medical problems will be treated prior to the surgical procedure. The reason for doing so is to ensure that no obstacle comes from conducting a successful liver transplant surgery. Indeed, the scoring system for identifying the eligibility criteria of the patients is known as the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease. For children, the scoring system is called Paediatric End-Stage Liver Disease). This is calculated by conducting specific blood tests. The following are the factors measured in the tests:
- Bilirubin: A higher level of Bilirubin means the bile is leaked into the bloodstream.
- Prothrombin Time: It indicates the time span taken for a part of the blood to get clots.
- Albumin: It is used for measuring kidney function in children.
- Creatinine: It is used for measuring kidney function in adults.
Matching Donor Liver with Recipient:
There are certain factors that surgeons will consider before matching the donor’s liver with the recipient. First of all, it is the blood type to be matched. The reason is that unmatched blood will not allow the donor’s liver to be accepted by the recipient’s body. Another point to consider is the body type of the donor and recipient. This will define the size of the liver that would fit properly in the recipient’s body or not. Finally, the geographical region is one of the most essential factors to be considered. This is because having a donor from the same or nearby geographical area would reduce the waiting time, and the treatment could be started without a problem.
Quantity of Liver Needed for Transplant:
Generally, the adults would require one hemisphere or lobe of the liver because the healthy liver lobe will grow to its normal size. Mostly, the lobe is taken from the right side of the liver because of the bigger size. On the other hand, the children will require just 20 percent of an adult liver that grows to the normal size in a child’s body. Depending on the requirement, the donors are thoroughly checked and evaluated before the surgery. Moreover, it is necessary for the donor to be mentally and physically prepared for the surgical process. This would help the patient to accept the treatment and stay calm to avoid any complications.
Reasons for Rejection for Liver Transplant:
With liver transplant surgeries essentially needed to save lives, people tend to get rejected too. It means that patients having prior medical conditions might not be allowed for the surgery as it might increase the complications and reduce the chances of cure. Obviously, patients with any prior disease will have a higher risk of experiencing traumatic conditions at the time of surgical procedure.
- The patient is too weak to cope with the treatment or aftercare.
- Patients with a recent cancer history, heart disease, or even serious infection.
- Patient’s struggle with handling the effects of immunosuppressant medicines after the transplant surgery.
- Patient’s ability to experience psychological issues and excessive fear before or after the transplant surgery.
Liver transplant surgery is an essential medical procedure that helps people fight cancerous tumors and other life-threatening liver diseases. Of course, the patient needs to pass through specified requirements to be deemed for the actual procedure. Indeed, liver transplant surgery is the last treatment procedure in a cancer or liver failure situation. Such a condition arises when no medical options are found suitable to treat the liver disease. The patients have to meet eligibility criteria before the actual procedure is conducted. So, it is always better to discuss your medical condition with the surgeon in detail.