A liver transplant is the removal of the entire or a portion of a liver that is not functioning effectively with a healthy liver.
The transplants taking place are majorly from cadaveric liver donors, I.e., from the owner of the liver who has died. At times, a patient receives a living liver donor (a healthy matching liver from a living candidate).
A liver transplant is the last option a surgeon opts for. After all other medications, treatment plans have failed.
However, did you know that the second most common transplant after a kidney transplant is a liver transplant?
Every year around 2,00,000 patients require transplantation to survive!
Liver transplant has significantly evolved—theprimary reason being the hike in survival rate. People have been reported to get a lot many years in a lease now after they undergo a liver transplant.
Survival rate stats-
Studies have shown a survival rate of 72% for 5 years in patients. This is a drastic change that has come up in decades.
Liver transplant shows a high success rate. However, the extension of life bestowed upon a person is dependent upon the following factors;
- Body mass index (BMI).
- The health factor before the surgery.
- Medical history of the patient.
- Associated health conditions.
- The cause of liver failure.
- Age of the person.
- The severity of the liver failure.
The 2017 study revealed that the survival rate was lower for individuals who were old and overweight.
The 2013 study reports that when the cause of the liver failure was due to the run-down lineage, the survival rates were higher.
Another factor is the long waiting list to receive a healthy liver. Unfortunately, many patients have died waiting for 5 years or more for a suitable liver donor. The reason being there is a shortage of liver donors when compared to the need for a healthy liver donor. The rates of deathsolely due to this reason have gone up by 30%.
How is the recovery after the transplant?
The patients who are lucky enough get a liver donor and undergo the surgery.
After the invasive procedure, the patient is shifted to the ICU (Intensive care unit) for two days before moving him to the regular ward. Strict vigilance is maintained upon him by intensive care physicians, and his health status is monitored closely. A patient, after the transplant, is kept on a ventilator to ensure he does not have any breathing difficulties.
Immunosuppressants are the most vital medicine given so that the body does not reject the new liver. The patient has to be on this medication his entire life.
Would life change after the transplant?
Most people can continue with their everyday life after a few months. But, the health factor has to be maintained throughout.
In the course of making the body accept the new liver, immunosuppressants are taken the entire life. The side effect of it is the person becomes vulnerable to all kinds of infections.
People who have undergone a liver transplant are at a higher risk to have cardiovascular problems. It is, therefore, mandatory to be in close association with your doctor even after the surgery. He will keep a check on your risk factors.
Maintaining proper health is the key to a longer life after the transplant.
It is common for patients to feel a wave of emotions after extensive surgery. You may feel a high level of stress. This comes as part and parcel of living a significant time with a life-threatening disease. Therefore, theafter-effects too are not going to be very easy to handle psychologically. Having a solid pillar of support will ease out your problems.
In fact, it is studied that many patients have also benefitted psychologically after the liver transplant!
Problems like memory impairment, anxiety, and depression are common in people with end-stage liver disease. After the transplant, all these issues improve considerably.
Living everyday life-
To increase your life span, living a healthy life is a must. There are a few dos and don’ts that your doctor will ask you to follow after the surgery. Follow them as a part of your ritual! The healthy lifestyle changes that you need to make are;
- Eat a balanced healthy diet after the transplant. Your appetite will, however, increase after the transplant. Taking the good and nutritious food will help in your recovery.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This will increase your chances of a long healthy life.
- Drink an ample amount of water and always stay hydrated.
- Quit smoking and stop the consumption of alcohol.
- Do not skip on your medicines.
- Visit your doctor from time to time.
- Avoid undercooked food.
- Keep distance from known allergens.
- Do not take part in any strenuous activities for at least 3 months after the operation.
- Avoid swimming.
- Consult your doctor every time you take any new medication, plan a vacation, or make any changes to your lifestyle.
Suffering from a severe liver disorder to getting in line with the cumbersome evaluation steps, waiting for a donor, a life-altering surgery, and your recovery state. The whole journey reflects on your zeal for living a good life.
The survival rates are remarkable with a successful liver transplant surgery.
As long as you follow a good lifestyle, take care of your health with all diligence, and take your prescribed medicines timely, you are entitled to a long and healthy life.
You can always look up to patients who have faced this traumatizing illness bravely and yet, added glorious years to their lives.
The longest surviving liver patient is Gordon Bridewell, who recently turned 70!
After all, it is not hard to live a worthwhile life! So make one for yourself!