Introduction:Your liver helps fight infections and cleans your blood. It also helps digest food and stores energy for when you need it. You cannot live without a liver that works.
If your liver fails, your doctor may put you on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Doctors do liver transplants when other treatments cannot keep a damaged liver working.
Liver transplantation or hepatic transplantation is the replacement of a diseased liver with a healthy liver allograft. The most commonly used technique is orthotopic transplantation, in which the native liver is removed and the donor organ is placed in the same anatomic location as the original liver. Liver transplantation nowadays is a well accepted treatment option for end-stage liver disease and acute liver failure.
During a liver transplantation, the surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy one. Most transplant livers come from a donor who has died. Sometimes a healthy person donates part of his or her liver for a specific patient. In this case the donor is called a living donor. The most common reason for transplantation in adults is cirrhosis. This is a disease in which healthy liver cells are killed and replaced with scar tissue. The most common reason in children is biliary atresia, a disease of the bile ducts.
People who have transplants must take drugs for the rest of their lives to keep their bodies from rejecting their new livers.
Liver transplantation is usually done when other medical treatment cannot keep a damaged liver functioning.
The first human liver transplant was performed in 1963 by a surgical team led by Dr. Thomas Starzl of Denver, Colorado, United States. Dr. Starzl performed several additional transplants over the next few years before the first short-term success was achieved in 1967 with the first one-year survival posttransplantation. Despite the development of viable surgical techniques, liver transplantation remained experimental through the 1970s, with one year patient survival in the vicinity of 25%. The introduction of cyclosporine by Sir Roy Calne markedly improved patient outcomes, and the 1980s saw recognition of liver transplantation as a standard clinical treatment for both adult and pediatric patients with appropriate indications. Liver transplantation is now performed at over one hundred centres in the USA, as well as numerous centres in Europe and elsewhere. One year patient survival is 80-85%, and outcomes continue to improve, although liver transplantation remains a formidable procedure with frequent complications. Unfortunately, the supply of liver allografts from non-living donors is far short of the number of potential recipients, a reality that has spurred the development of living donor liver transplantation.
Liver transplantation is potentially applicable to any acute or chronic condition resulting in irreversible liver dysfunction, provided that the recipient does not have other conditions that will preclude a successful transplant. Metastatic cancer outside liver, active drug or alcohol abuse and active septic infections are absolute contraindications. While infection with HIV was once considered an absolute contraindication, this has been changing recently. Advanced age and serious heart, pulmonary or other disease may also prevent transplantation (relative contraindications). Most liver transplants are performed for chronic liver diseases that lead to irreversible scarring of the liver, or cirrhosis of the liver.
Before transplantation liver support therapy might be indicated (bridging-to-transplantation). Artificial liver support like liver dialysis or bioartificial liver support concepts are currently under preclinical and clinical evaluation. Virtually all liver transplants are done in an orthotopic fashion, that is the native liver is removed and the new liver is placed in the same anatomic location. The transplant operation can be conceptualized as consisting of the hepatectomy (liver removal) phase, the anhepatic (no liver) phase, and the postimplantation phase. The operation is done through a large incision in the upper abdomen. The hepatectomy involves division of all ligamentous attachments to the liver, as well as the common bile duct, hepatic artery, hepatic vein and portal vein. Usually, the retrohepatic portion of the inferior vena cava is removed along with the liver, although an alternative technique preserves the recipient’s vena cava (“piggyback” technique).
The donor’s blood in the liver will be replaced by an ice-cold organ storage solution, such as UW (Viaspan) or HTK until the allograft liver is implanted. Implantation involves anastomoses (connections) of the inferior vena cava, portal vein, and hepatic artery. After blood flow is restored to the new liver, the biliary (bile duct) anastomosis is constructed, either to the recipient’s own bile duct or to the small intestine. The surgery usually takes between five and six hours, but may be longer or shorter due to the difficulty of the operation and the experience of the surgeon.
The large majority of liver transplants use the entire liver from a non-living donor for the transplant, particularly for adult recipients. A major advance in pediatric liver transplantation was the development of reduced size liver transplantation, in which a portion of an adult liver is used for an infant or small child. Further developments in this area included split liver transplantation, in which one liver is used for transplants for two recipients, and living donor liver transplantation, in which a portion of healthy person’s liver is removed and used as the allograft. Living donor liver transplantation for pediatric recipients involves removal of approximately 20% of the liver (Couinaud segments 2 and 3).
Like all other allografts, a liver transplant will be rejected by the recipient unless immunosuppressive drugs are used. The immunosuppressive regimens for all solid organ transplants are fairly similar, and a variety of agents are now available. Most liver transplant recipients receive corticosteroids plus a calcinuerin inhibitor such as tacrolimus or Cyclosporin plus a antimetabolite such as Mycophenolate Mofetil.
Liver transplantation is unique in that the risk of chronic rejection also decreases over time, although recipients need to take immunosuppresive medication for the rest of their lives. It is theorized that the liver may play a yet-unknown role in the maturation of certain cells pertaining to the immune system. There is at least one study by Dr. Starzl’s team at the University of Pittsburgh which consisted of bone marrow biopsies taken from such patients which demonstrate genotypic chimerism in the bone marrow of liver transplant recipients.
About 80 to 90 percent of people survive liver transplantation. Survival rates have improved over the past several years because of drugs like cyclosporine and tacrolimus that suppress the immune system and keep it from attacking and damaging the new liver.
Prognosis is quite good. However those with certain illnesses may differ. There is no exact model to predict survival rates however those with transplant have a 58% chance of surviving 15 years.
Living donor transplantation:-
Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) has emerged in recent decades as a critical surgical option for patients with end stage liver disease, such as cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma often attributable to one or more of the following: long-term alcohol abuse, long-term untreated Hepatitis C infection, long-term untreated Hepatitis B infection. The concept of LDLT is based on (1) the remarkable regenerative capacities of the human liver and (2) the widespread shortage of cadaveric livers for patients awaiting transplant. In LDLT, a piece of healthy liver is surgically removed from a living person and transplanted into a recipient, immediately after the recipient’s diseased liver has been entirely removed.
Historically, LDLT began as a means for parents of children with severe liver disease to donate a portion of their healthy liver to replace their child’s entire damaged liver. The first report of successful LDLT was by Dr. Silvano Raia at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Medical School in 1986. Surgeons eventually realized that adult-to-adult LDLT was also possible, and now the practice is common in a few reputable medical institutes. It is considered more technically demanding than even standard, cadaveric donor liver transplantation, and also poses the ethical problems underlying the indication of a major surgical operation (hepatectomy) on a healthy human being. In various case series the risk of complications in the donor is around 10%, and very occasionally a second operation is needed. Common problems are biliary fistula, gastric stasis and infections; they are more common after removal of the right lobe of the liver. Death after LDLT has been reported at 0% (Japan), 0.3% (USA) and <1% (Europe), with risks likely to improve further as surgeons gain more experience in this procedure.
In a typical adult recipient LDLT, 55% of the liver (the right lobe) is removed from a healthy living donor. The donor’s liver will regenerate to 100% function within 4-6 weeks and will reach full volumetric size with recapitulation of the normal structure soon thereafter. It may be possible to remove 70% to 75% of the liver from a healthy living donor without harm in most cases. The transplanted portion will reach full function and the appropriate size in the recipient as well, although it will take longer than for the donor.
For More Information:-
American Liver Foundation
75 Maiden Lane, Suite 603
New York, NY 10038
Phone: 1–800–GO–LIVER (465–4837)
Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI)
504 Blick Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20904–2901
Phone: 1–800–891–0707 or 301–622–4200
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
P.O. Box 2484
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: 1–888–894–6361 or 804–782–4800
Additional Information on Liver Transplantation :-
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse collects resource information on digestive diseases for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Reference Collection. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources. The NIDDK Reference Collection is a service of the National Institutes of Health.
To provide you with the most up-to-date resources, information specialists at the clearinghouse created an automatic search of the NIDDK Reference Collection. To obtain this information, you may view the results of the automatic search on Liver Transplantation.
If you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may access and search the NIDDK Reference Collection database online.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3570
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You may click to see the external links:-
*Official organ sharing network of U.S.
*Official organ procurement center of the U.S.
*American Liver Foundation: Comprehensive information about Hepatitis C, Liver Transplant and other liver diseases, including links to chapters for finding local resources
*Management of HBV Infection in Liver Transplantation Patients
*Management of HCV Infection and Liver Transplantation
*Antiviral therapy of HCV in the cirrhotic and transplant candidate
*Living Donors Online
*Liver Transplantation Guide and Liver Transplant Surgery in India
*History of pediatric liver transplantation
*ABC Salutaris: Living Donor Liver Transplant
*Organ Donation Awareness and former potential donor blog
*All You Need to Know about Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation
*Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
*A Liver Donor’s Blog
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