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How liver transplant can save the lives of those suffering from liver diseases

Updated on: 23 April,2024 04:41 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

If you have severe and chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer, a liver transplant can be life-saving for you

How liver transplant can save the lives of those suffering from liver diseases

Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

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How liver transplant can save the lives of those suffering from liver diseases

The liver plays a pivotal in the body's overall functioning. It detoxifies and flushes out toxins from the blood to maintain one’s overall well-being. Moreover, the liver produces bile, which eases digestion and breaks down fats for better absorption. It also stores nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and regulates blood sugar levels by storing and releasing glucose to maintain energy balance. However, liver function is disturbed when one is diagnosed with liver illnesses and can also suffer from failure and may require a liver transplant.

Dr Gaurav Chaubal, director of liver, pancreas, intestine transplant program, and HPB surgery, Gleneagles Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai answers relevant questions about liver transplants.  

What is a liver transplant? 
A liver transplant is a major procedure. A failed liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver generally taken from a living donor or a deceased donor. A few different types of liver transplants are living donor liver transplantation, paediatric liver transplantation, split liver transplantation, domino liver transplantation, cadaver liver transplantation, and auxiliary liver transplantation. Hence, one should understand when they require a liver transplant to improve the quality of life.

A thorough investigation is the first step of an effective liver transplant procedure. This helps ascertain the possibility of a successful liver transplant and if the patient is physically and mentally fit to undergo the rigours of a liver transplant surgery. 

Following the tests and analysis, the liver team will help the patient and caregivers understand the process of the liver transplant surgery. The multidisciplinary team at our liver transplant hospital in Mumbai includes hepatologists, intensivists, anaesthetists, liver transplant surgeons, liver transplant coordinators, nurses, care managers, physiotherapists, dietitians, and other clinicians to manage your care at every stage. The process involves a waiting and preparation period, the transplant surgery, and post-transplant rehabilitation. 

Who is recommended a liver transplant?
It is a recommended treatment for people who suffer from end-stage chronic liver disease (ESLD). It is a progressive illness in which healthy liver tissues are replaced by scarred tissues (cirrhosis) leading to liver decompensation. 

Liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) is another illness for which a liver transplant is advised. When the liver fails suddenly (loses more than 75 per cent functioning capacity in a short time) also known as Acute Liver Failure, the patient will benefit from an early liver transplant. In the pediatric age group, inborn errors of metabolism, biliary atresias, and hepatoblastomas are also indications for a liver transplant.

How much time does it take to recover from a transplant? 
After the liver transplant surgery, it takes up to 10-15 days to be discharged from the hospital for the recipient and five to seven days for the donor. The donor can return to normal life in a month provided they follow a prescribed diet and a healthy lifestyle. The life expectancy of the donor is not affected after the surgery and does not require medical intervention after two months. The recipient after successful surgery can resume normal life after about two months with adherence to the prescribed diet and lifestyle. 

A liver transplant is life-altering as it improves one's chances of survival due to prompt recovery and successful outcomes. 

Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

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