The rate of dead organ donation in India is very low, and lack of dead donor liver for transplantation can be a death sentence for thousands of patients waiting for that liver transplant. To meet this demand for liver transplants and increase the chances and chances of a successful liver transplant, most patients have no choice but to look for a living donor who can donate a portion of their liver to them. This is why Living Donor Transplants (LDLTs) make up about 80% of the liver transplants in India. The Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to ORGAN India CEO Mrs. Sunaina Singh about the benefits and risks of liver transplant.
Advantages and risks of liver transplant
When considering a donation or transplant, it is best to fully understand the benefits and risks of potential donors and recipients. If we talk about the benefits to the recipients, there are three classes of patients who will benefit from the liver transplant.
1. Liver cirrhosis
First and foremost, about 80 to 90 percent of people who suffer from liver cirrhosis go through a liver transplant. Cirrhosis can come from 4 liver diseases that cause permanent damage to the liver over a period of 20 to 30 years. These are NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease), Alcoholic Liver Disease, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. Unfortunately, these are slowly progressing diseases that may initially show normal liver function.
Meeting a liver specialist and detecting them early can prevent the disease from progressing and can keep you at bay for many years. Long-term treatment of hepatitis C and B as well as fatty liver is essential. Only 5 percent of all people with cirrhosis will need a transplant, and these diseases can be controlled for years. Prevention is key.
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2. Acute liver failure
The second is acute liver failure (ALF), which accounts for about 10 percent of liver transplants and is a disease that affects young patients who have no existing liver disease. Sudden liver failure due to hepatitis A and E or due to drug side effects. Such failures are life threatening in just a few days. Only 5 percent of patients will need a liver transplant and the diagnosis and severity of the disease is crucial for a successful transplant.
3. Liver cancer
Third-class patients who have benefited from a liver transplant are those who have been diagnosed with liver cancer. You may be surprised to know that there is a cure for liver cancer and it is a liver transplant. It is responsible for about 10 percent of liver transplants. Not everyone with liver cancer can get a transplant and there are certain criteria that must be met in order to be offered a transplant. However, once patented, it is cancer free.
In cases of acute liver failure and liver cancer, the human survival rate is a few months, but through transplant these patients can expect a normal quality of life and longevity. Transplanted children have achieved normal growth and longevity.
Risk of liver transplant
A liver transplant surgery is a lengthy operation that lasts 8-12 hours and the recipient has about 10% risk. The level of risk depends on how sick they are during the transplant. Each case is different. However, it is important to remember that the risk of death due to various diseases of the liver is much higher and a successful replacement will greatly increase the life expectancy and quality of life. After the transplant, patients need lifelong immunosuppressive drugs, which will be administered by their doctors.
Also read: Liver Diseases in Children: Liver Transplant Can Save Lives, Learn Symptoms, Liver Health Care Advice
Anyone considering being a donor to their loved one must be in very good physical and mental health and meet strict medical criteria. To prepare for a liver donation, recipients may need to make some adjustments to their lifestyle. These changes include abstinence from recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
The grant must be entirely voluntary, and the transplant is approved only if the donor clears the requirements, which will include an interview by a committee that will determine if they are willing and able to perform the transplant. The donor has a 6-8 hour operation. With standardization and experience, the risk is less than 0.3 percent. Piercing pain and discomfort can be controlled with medication.
Typically, a liver donor spends about seven days in hospital and will have an additional six to eight weeks to recover. Donors who come from outside the city (after being discharged from the hospital should plan to spend an additional two to three weeks in the city).
There will be scarring that will last a lifetime, but with new liver transplant techniques such as robotic and laparoscopic, not only will the scar be less, but the pain will be less. It is important to visit a good transplant center with experienced doctors. The joy of saving someone they love and care for is the greatest benefit of a living donor. Both the post-transplant donor and the recipient should take care of their health, avoid unnecessary drugs, alcohol, tobacco and maintain a very healthy diet.