What is a liver transplant?
Liver replacement may donated by liver donor (living donor transplantation) or from person who has just died (cadaveric donation).
Who needs liver transplants?
Liver transplantschronic liver disease. The most common reason for needing a liver transplant is liver cirrhosis (destruction of normal liver cells & replacement with scar tissue).
Acute liver disease
Liver transplantation considered for Patients who fulminant hepatic failure (liver failure). Common causes of fulminant hepatic failure include viral hepatitis or paracetamol overdose.
Chronic liver disease
Patients who have this conditions should be considered for transplantation:
1. Primary biliary cirrhosis
2. Primary sclerosing cholangitis
3. Chronic viral hepatitis (eg. hepatitis C)
4. Autoimmune hepatitis
5. Alcoholic liver disease: patients who meet strict criteria for abstinence
6. Malignant disease: some patients with primary hepatocellular cancer (liver cancer)
In children, the most common indication for transplantation is biliary atresia (failure of the biliary tree to develop normally).
Contraindications to liver transplantation
Not everyone with liver disease is suitable for liver transplantation. Liver transplants are not possible where a patient has:
1. A severe infection outside the liver
2. Cancer outside the liver
3. Metastatic cancer in the liver (eg. cancer spread to the liver from a primary bowel cancer)
4. Active alcohol or substance abuse
Liver transplants not for Patients over the age of 70 years.
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