When Does a Liver Patient Need a Transplant? Signs to Look For

dpadmin Livontaglobal

Do you know that without the liver, it won’t be possible for our body to digest food and clot the running blood? The liver is one of the most important organs of the body. Its chief function is to eliminate harmful toxins from our body. It enables our body to produce vital proteins that are necessary for blood clotting. The liver plays a crucial role in producing bile which helps our body digest the food we eat. Our entire body system can go haywire if this football-sized organ is not working efficiently. That is why you should immediately visit the best liver hospital in India if you feel this vital organ of your body is not working well.

Chief Causes of the Liver Damage in Adults:

In adults, cirrhosis is the major reason behind the deteriorating condition of the liver. It causes irreparable damage to the liver by blocking its blood supply which leads to malfunctioning of this vital organ. Viral infections such as Hepatitis B & C, excessive consumption of alcohol, fatty liver or an autoimmune disease of the liver can lead to conditions like cirrhosis. If someone develops cancer tumour in the liver, then also it may hamper the functioning of the liver. Primary biliary sclerosis and genetic liver disease are some other reasons which cause extensive damage to the liver in adults.

Chief Causes of the Liver Damage in Children:

 Biliary atresia is the chief cause of irreparable liver damage in children. In this congenital condition, kids are born without bile ducts or a blocked bile duct which leads to cirrhosis of the liver in babies. In this condition, the only alternative to restore the liver’s functions is a liver transplant. Fortunately, several hospitals across India are equipped with ultramodern facilities to perform a liver transplant at a reasonable cost.

Symptoms of cirrhosis:

In adults, the signs and symptoms of cirrhosis are visible only when the liver is extensively damaged. The patient should visit a doctor without a moment’s delay if the symptoms include:


          Easily bleeding or bruising


          Loss of appetite

          Edema (swelling in legs, feet or ankles)

          Unintentional weight loss

          Itchy skin

          Jaundice (yellow discolouration in the skin and eyes)

          Ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen)

          Visible spiderlike blood vessels on your skin

          Redness in the palms of the hands

          In women, loss of periods without menopause

          In men, loss of sex drive, enlargement of breast or testicular atrophy

          Hepatic encephalopathy which leads to confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech

When does a liver patient need a transplant?

Is the liver transplant the only option or can the functions of the liver be revived through any other course of treatment? No doctor would recommend a liver transplant as long as the condition is treatable. In order to determine whether the patient needs a liver transplant or not, the surgeon has to diagnose the cause of liver damage. Best liver doctors in India generally recommend the below-mentioned tests for an accurate diagnosis. It will help the doctor understand whether the patient is capable of undergoing a liver transplant. Apart from that, it will help them find a matching donor.

          X-ray and computed tomography

          Doppler ultrasound to understand blood flow in the liver

          ECG, stress test, cardiac evaluation to check cardiac fitness

          Pulmonary function test

          A complete haematology (blood) study

Who can donate the liver?

The severe liver condition can be cured through a liver transplant surgery. Many hospitals perform a liver transplant in India. Either a living or a deceased donor can donate a liver for the transplant surgery.

Living donor:

If a family member or a friend can be a donor if they turn out to be a match for the patient. The preconditions are that the donor’s liver size should match the patient’s liver size and their blood type should be compatible. Liver transplant surgery does not demand a complex match like tissue or cell. The liver is an organ that can grow back in 6 to 8 weeks so the donor is not at loss. At no point, the donor’s quality of life will be compromised.

Deceased or cadaver donor:

It is possible to transplant a deceased person’s liver to an adult patient. The liver, sourced from the cadaver donor is transplanted into the patient.  In India, hospitals across multiple states are connected with each other and the information of the donor is passed on promptly. Patients can find out which states have the lowest waiting list of liver patients. Based on that they can choose the hospital for the transplant surgery.

How to get a donor?

If the doctor recommends transplant surgery after a complete medical evaluation, the patient becomes an active candidate for the liver. The name of the patient will be placed on a waiting list containing details like blood group, body size and medical condition. Based on the blood tests, candidates are given a score. In adults, the score is known as MELD (Model of End-stage Liver Disease) and in kids, it is known as PELD (Paediatric End-stage Liver Disease). The priorities are set based on this score. It gets regularly revised. If in a blood test, it is found that your liver condition has deteriorated further, your score will go high and you will be given a priority. The patients on the top of the list have higher chances of being chosen as a recipient. During this waiting period, it is important to get examined on a regular basis to maintain health.

What should you expect?

The liver transplant is a complex procedure. Let us quickly glance at how liver transplant surgery is performed and what you should expect.

          The operation may last between 6 hours to 12 hours. Patients are given general anaesthesia for the surgical procedure.

          A long incision will be made across your abdomen. The surgeon will disconnect the blood supply to and from the liver and bile ducts. After that, the liver will be removed.

          If the liver is donated by a living donor, then a portion of the donor’s liver will be removed and transplanted into the patient’s body. In the case of cadaver donors, the entire liver will be transplanted.

          The liver will be replaced with the donor’s liver and the bile ducts and blood vessels will be reattached to the new liver.

          The surgeon will place staples and stitches to close the incision.

In the case of a living donor, his body will quickly regenerate liver within a few months to its full volume. Liver transplant in India has a success rate of 90%. In a few cases, some complications may arise. However, the expert liver doctors in India and multi-speciality hospitals are equipped to cater to the patient’s urgent medical needs.

   Liver Transplant Treatment

Tags: ,