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WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF A LIVER TRANSPLANT

The liver is an essential organ in the body that not only contributes to the digestive system but also produces protein essential for blood clotting.

It is the largest gland in the human body that activates enzymes, stores essential nutrients and excretes bilirubin, cholesterol and other hormones.

At any given time, if the liver fails to perform any of these essential functions, it may have to be replaced. This is when a liver transplant is performed.

Liver Transplant Procedure

A healthy liver has two lobes, one forming 60% of the liver and the other forming 40% and any one lobe can be used to transplant a dysfunctional liver. The donors for a liver could be deceased or living. A living donor can maintain liver health even after donating one part of the liver. The liver eventually grows for both the donor and recipient after the transplant.

Reasons for Liver Failure

 

Some of the common reasons for a liver failure include:

  • Consumption of Alcohol for a prolonged duration
  • Malnutrition
  • Consumption of cholesterol high food
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hemachromatosis or excessive absorption of iron

Liver failure can also be caused due the side effects from certain medications, unlikely intake of poisonous mushrooms or an overdose of a medicine chemical.

The liver tends to swell up and cause extreme pain in the abdomen and requires attention at the earliest.

Precautions Before Liver Transplant

There several things to keep in mind before one finally undergoes a liver transplant:

  • Matching the blood type
  • Health status and studying medical history
  • Finding the most suitable donor
  • Blood tests and organ compatibility of donor and recipient
  • Medicines that both the recipient and donor are consuming
  • Other risk factors that may cause complications in the procedure

Possible Complications

There are two major complications that may occur after the liver transplant, mainly Rejection of the transplanted liver and Infection after the procedure.

Rejection of the liver transplant:

This may occur when the immune system fails to recognize the liver transplant and tries to attack it assuming it to be a foreign substance in the body. This, however, is seen to be a common reaction to a transplant and is treated immediately with medication.

Infection:

This can happen due to the attack of the immune system on the transplant as well, since it becomes more susceptible to outside particles affecting it. This is also treated with medication and does not happen very often.

Some other complications that arise during the procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood Clots
  • Leaks in the Bile Ducts
  • Failure of the transplanted liver
  • Seizures or collapse

Liver transplant should be opted for only after weighing all available options and treatments. Although effective, it may not be the solution if even a small complication arises for either the donor or the recipient. Before rushing to decision, it is best to consult doctors and get their recommendation to ensure that the taken measure is most beneficial for the person looking to opt for a liver transplant surgery.

 

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/liver-transplant/details/risks/cmc-20211846
http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepb-guide/digestive-diseases-liver-transplantation#4-11
http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepb-guide/digestive-diseases-liver-transplantation#1
http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_disease/article.htm

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