A surgical procedure done for patients with liver failure to replace their diseased liver with a healthy liver is called liver transplant. When a liver transplant is done, a patient’s entire liver is removed. It is then replaced by a portion of the donor’s healthy liver.
A living donor is often the only option for those who are too sick for a deceased donor transplant and it is typically that those who are able to receive an organ from a living donor go on to have a greater lifetime expectancy post-transplant.
It is important to keep in mindthat living liver donation has got a higher complication rate when it is compared to living kidney donation. And it also has a longer recovery time which is about 2-4 months. Whereas, liver transplantation, includes live donation, it has gone on to become more and more common and surgical techniques have gone on to get significantly advanced over the past ten years.
While one hand transplant centers perform liver transplant surgeries, it is not that all of them perform living liver donations and there are very few perform non-directed liver donating to a stranger. When one is considering of becoming a liver donor, One must keep in mind that there are several phases in the donation process, like
For donors it is important to be aware of the risks that are associated with liver donation and everything that the donation process inlcudes. A patient’s safety throughout the donation process is the main goal of a living donor program.
Evaluation for a Living Donor
The evaluation helps determine if a person is an appropriate match or not with his recipient and if the patient is medically fit or not. In the first stage of evaluation, the donor will undergo tissue typing and lab screening and complete a liver donor questionnaire.
- Comprehensive testing might be include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Laboratory blood tests
- Urine test
- Pap smear
- For women who are over the age of 40 Mammogram
- If over age 50 then Colonoscopy
- If these studies are satisfactory, one willgo on to meet with the live donor team for discussing the procedure and its risks. Testing includes two days of appointments and diagnostic testing. During this time period, a person is evaluated by a psychologist, social worker, donor advocate and nurse coordinator.
- Once the work-up has been done, then team includes surgeons, hepatologists, psychologists, donor advocates, and nurses coordinators. It is important to note that, as a donor, you will have a different transplant team from your recipient. Your team cares for you exclusively. At the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, organ donors are given the same considerations and respect as all of our patients.
- Surgery and Recovery for a Living Donor
- Usually, a liver donor has to spend around seven days in the hospital, and has an additional from six to eight weeks of recovery time.
- During the early recovery period, will experience some pain and discomfort because of the incision, which usually is well controlled with the help painkillers.
- The person is monitored very closely after the surgery has been done for all the appropriate signs of recovery and liver regeneration.
- Once your pain is under control, and the person is eating and drinking well and is up and walking around without any difficulty, he is discharged from the hospital.
After the discharge, it has been strictly advised not to lift anything heavier than the weight of 20 pounds for at least six weeks.
A person is instructed not to drive when on medications, which he has to have at least two to three weeks after discharge.
A person is encouraged to walk several times a day. If you have small children, a mother might need initial help in caring for them.
And depending on the type of work he does, he might be able to return back within six to eight weeks after surgery.
The liver will eventually begin to regenerate immediately after the surgery and ultimately will be back again to normal size within six to eight weeks.
The recovery after the discharge is closely monitored with regular clinic visits and lab tests
|Patient blood group||Matching donor groups|
|A+ or A-||A+ / A- /O+ / O-|
|B+ or B-||B+ / B- / O+ / O-|
|AB+ or AB –||Any blood group acceptable|
|O+ or O-||O+ / O-|