The liver is an important part of the body which carries more than 500 functions in the body. Most of them play a significant role in helping the body function properly. These include the removal of toxins and filtering of the blood, storage of minerals and vitamins, production of bile, and metabolization of drugs.
When the liver gets contracted by diseases like liver cancer or end-stage cirrhosis, all vital functions get affected. If the liver fails recovery and if it reaches a critical stage, a successful liver transplant will be the best option. It helps patients to improve their chances of recovery. The transplant involves the removal of your entire liver and then replacement with a donor. The donor’s liver can come from both the living and deceased donor.
Read more to know the success rate of liver transplants:
Why is it done?
Some persons with liver cancer and those with liver failure who are unable to control their illness with other treatments can benefit from a liver transplant. It is possible for liver failure to occur both fast and gradually.
Acute liver failure is defined as a liver failure that occurs suddenly within a few weeks. A rare illness known as acute liver failure is frequently brought on by problems with particular drugs. Although liver transplants can treat chronic liver disease, they are most frequently utilized to treat acute liver failure. For some, over many months and years, chronic liver failure develops gradually.
Why might you need a liver transplant?
Liver function is essential for survival. You might require a transplant if your liver stops functioning properly. If you have end-stage liver disease, a liver transplant may be advised (chronic liver failure). This is a severe, perhaps fatal, liver condition. Several liver diseases may be the cause. End-stage liver disease is frequently brought on by cirrhosis. It is a long-term liver condition. It occurs when scar tissue takes the place of good liver tissue. The liver cannot function normally as a result. Additional conditions that could cause end-stage liver disease include:
- Acute liver necrosis, at this point, liver tissue starts to deteriorate. Acute infections and adverse drug, medication, or toxin reactions are among the causes that could exist.
- Atresia of the bile ducts a newborn is affected with a rare liver and bile duct disorder.
- Most often, hepatitis B or C.
- Metabolic illnesses are disorders that alter the chemical activity of liver-related cells.
- First-degree liver malignancies. These tumors are malignant and originate in the liver.
- Autoimmune liver disease. Liver edoema or redness (inflammation). It takes place when the immune system in your body attacks your liver.
In order to do a liver transplant, any damaged, diseased, or dead liver tissue, as well as the complete organ, must normally be surgically removed. Then, surgeons will change the entire donor’s liver or a section of the deceased donor’s liver.
Live donors may be used, and two people may get transplants from one liver during a segmented liver transplant. However, this surgery carries a higher risk because problems occur more frequently.
Liver transplants were performed on 96% of patients in 2013, while only 4% of patients received liver parts from a living donor. The frequency and safety of segmental liver transplant surgery may increase as more individuals become aware of it.
The majority of patients spend one or two days in the intensive care unit (ICU) after surgery. When the patient is ready, doctors will move them from the ICU to a regular room in the hospital. After the surgery, a person who has had a liver transplant will need to spend about two weeks in the hospital.
People who have organ transplants must take immunosuppressant medicines for the rest of their lives. Before feeling healthy enough to resume regular activities, many people need two or three months. Additionally, it may take years before the full impact of the procedure is felt.
How do Immunosuppressants work?
Immunosuppressants need to be taken for the rest of your life if you have any type of organ transplant. Your immune system is suppressed by these medicines. Your immune system aids in defending your body against invasion by viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, because it is an external organ, your new liver appears to be an invading force.
Immunosuppressants are medicines that doctors administer to patients to stop their bodies from fighting their new liver. At first, you will take a bigger dose, and then you will usually move towards a lesser dose. By doing periodic blood tests to track your response to the medicine, your medical team can change your prescription as necessary.
It is not possible to forecast a person’s likelihood of receiving a successful liver transplant. Or how long they will live following the treatment because of a multitude of complex circumstances. Average survival rates of a liver transplant are as follows:
- One year following surgery, 86 percent were still alive.
- Three years following surgery, 78% were still alive.
- Five years after surgery, 72% of patients are still living.
- Twenty years after surgery, 53% are still living.
Estimates of reported survival rates can differ depending on the information used, as well as when and how the estimates were made.
Factors influencing survival rates
Despite the excellent success rates of liver transplants, a patient’s likelihood of prospering following the procedure depends on a number of crucial variables.
- Body mass index (BMI),
- Significant weight fluctuations,
- Level of health prior to surgery,
- The extent of the patient’s liver failure and the number of other organs
- The cause of liver failure
- Medical history and any other underlying health conditions are among the factors.
A Liver transplant is an expensive and complex surgery, in the US a liver transplant cost may go up to $500,000 although it may vary according to the patient’s health condition. Therefore a patient must follow all the after-surgery recommendations suggested by the surgeon to make the surgery successful.