Liver transplant have excellent outcomes. Recipients have been known to live a normal life over 30 years after the operation. It is important to remember that many factors come into play with these statistics. Transplant recipients directly contribute to the success of their transplant. Failure to comply with the immunosuppression medical regimen is the number one cause of organ failure. Close follow-up with your transplant team can help ensure a good outcome. Careful attention to medication schedules, lifestyle changes, infection-avoidance strategies are all important ways to prolong one’s life after transplantation.
The first three months following transplantation are the most difficult. The body is adjusting to the “new” liver and all the medications needed to maintain it. By the time of discharge from the hospital patients are able to care for themselves, with some minor restrictions. Most patients can return to work within 3 to 6 months after a transplant. Playing sports and getting healthy exercise, socializing, and traveling for business and pleasure are all possible.
Certain liver diseases can reappear in the new liver. The transplant team can advise you on the incidence of recurrence of specific liver ailments. In cases where there is a risk of recurrence the transplant team will monitor you very closely to help prevent recurrence.
Patients must take many medications after a Liver transplant: some to prevent rejection (immunosuppressants), and some to fight infection. Patients returning home after transplantation will be taking approximately 7 to 10 different type of medicines. Dosages and number of medications are reduced over time. By six months, it is common to be down to 1 or 2 medications. However, patients will be taking immunosuppression medications for the rest of their lives in virtually all cases. It is vital that these medications are taken as prescribed, in the proper amounts and at the specified times. Missing medication doses or discontinuing them on one’s own can lead to rejection and organ failure.
Sexual activity can resume early after discharge from the hospital. Because of illness, many patients experience impotence or lack of desire prior to the transplant. This usually reverses itself after transplant. Because of their chronic illness, many people are unable to conceive prior to transplant, but this may not be the case afterwards. Babies born to immunosuppressed mothers tend to have lower birth weights than average, but are generally healthy.