When is a Liver Transplant Needed?
Liver in human body is a vital organ that performs a number of important functions in the body like it produces glucose and bile required by the body. It is also responsible for the synthesis of some main proteins & enzymes along with the metabolism of drugs & toxins. When your liver is diseased, it is not able to perform its function properly and this affects your whole body. There is no artificial device or alternative for liver that can be used to perform its function. In such situations, one needs liver transplant to be done to survive.
Your liver may stop functioning properly due to two main reasons:
- Acute liver failure
- Chronic liver failure
In acute liver failure, your liver suffers from some big injury that immediately shows that your liver is not working properly. It can happen due to viral infections, overdose of acetaminophen, ingestion of poisonous substances like toxic mushrooms etc. Such people require immediate liver transplantation because if more delay is caused in that, it can prove to be life threatening. These patients are considered as priority for liver transplant and they are placed on top of the list of people waiting for this procedure to be done.
In chronic liver failure, the person’s liver stops functioning over a period of many years. Generally, a liver can repair itself in response to injury but repeated injuries can scar the liver permanently. A stage comes when the liver can’t repair itself and fails resulting in liver failure. Chronic liver failure can happen due to viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, metabolic liver disease, autoimmune liver disease and genetic liver disease.
Both the above conditions require liver transplant either from a living donor or deceased donor. In liver transplant surgery, your surgeon will replace the diseased liver with either a part of healthy liver from living donor or with full liver from a dead donor who has opted for organ donation.