Liver Transplant

What is liver transplant?

A liver transplant is a procedure that is performed to replace a diseased liver of a person with a healthy liver from another person. The liver may come from a dead organ donor or from a living donor. Individuals who are unrelated but make a good match or family members may be able to donate a portion of their liver. This type of liver transplant is called a living transplant. People who give a portion of their liver can live normal lives with the remaining liver as it is the only organ in our body that can regenerate. A transplanted portion of a liver can regrow to normal capacity within weeks.

There are two major types of liver transparent

  • Cadaveric Transplant: The majority of livers which are transplanted come from organ donors who have died. Organ donors are adults or kids who have become critically sick and will not survive as a result of their illness. This type of liver transplant is called a cadaveric transplant. A person receiving a transplant may either get a whole liver or a portion of one. And this transplant type is quite a common procedure in popular premises like manipal hospital. 
  • Living donor transplant: Living family members can also choose to donate a section of their liver. This type of liver transplant is called a living-related transplant. It has been recorded that children receiving a partial liver seem to do as well as the kids who receive a whole liver. Relatives who donate a part of their liver can live normal lives with the segment that remains. 

Usually, a liver transplant is the last resort to fix a liver disease.  Diseases that can lead to a liver transplant are as follows: 

Biliary atresia 

Biliary atresia is a rare disease that affects the liver and bile ducts. It occurs in infants. In this disease, the bile ducts outside and inside the liver are injured and blocked. Bile can’t flow into the intestine, so bile builds. The symptoms of the disease usually appear between 2 and 6 weeks after birth. The baby will appear jaundiced, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. The other symptoms may include hardening of the liver and swelling of the abdomen. Stools may also appear pale grey and the urine dark.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Also called AAT deficiency, it is a genetic disease, passed down from parents to their children. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin can cause serious lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It can also cause liver disease that leads to jaundice, which makes the skin look yellowish. There is no cure, and if not managed, it can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. 

Acute and Chronic Hepatitis

Hepatitis occurs when the liver gets inflamed. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but it can be caused by autoimmune diseases, medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. There are five types of viral hepatitis and are classified as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus causes a different type of virally transmitted hepatitis. Hepatitis A is usually an acute, short-term disease. Hepatitis B, C, and D are most likely to become chronic. Hepatitis E is usually acute. However, it can be unusually dangerous in pregnant women.

Fatty liver disease 

Fatty liver disease, also called steatosis, is the build-up of excess fat in the cells of the liver. It is a common liver disease in Western countries. About one in every ten people have this condition. A normal liver also contains some fat. But sometimes, fat accounts for more than ten percent of the liver’s total weight. When that happens, the person has a fatty liver and may develop more serious complications.

Fatty liver may cause no damage. But sometimes the excess fat leads to inflammation of the liver. This condition is called steatohepatitis. It causes liver damage. If alcohol abuse is the reason for fatty liver and inflammation, then is called as alcoholic steatohepatitis. If not, then the condition is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  Both types of steatohepatitis are the leading cause of cirrhosis, which is the scarring and hardening of the liver over time. It is serious and often leads to liver failure. 

Liver Cancer 

Liver cancer is another major cause for liver transplantation. It is a type of cancer that starts in the liver. Although some cancers develop outside the liver and spread to the area, only cancers that start in the liver are described as liver cancer. In liver cancer, the liver cells mutate and grow uncontrollably. Liver cancer can only be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or liver transplant under the supervision of highly experiences general surgeon. Such a professional supervision is available in institutes like Manipal hospital whitefield.