Liver Transplant Success Rate

A healthy liver is necessary for normal life. This vital organ is responsible for detoxification of various harmful substances and plays a key role in metabolism. Liver disease can result in loss of liver function. A liver transplant is the last treatment resort for liver disease. In this surgical procedure, the damaged liver is replaced with healthy liver tissue from a donor. Most of the donated liver tissue comes from non-living donors but healthy individuals can donate a part of their liver.

What Is the Liver Transplant Success Rate?

The survival rate after liver transplant is determined by your specific condition. In general, the five-year survival rate is 72 percent. It means that if a hundred people have this surgery, 72 will be alive after five years. The five-year survival rate is higher for those who receive liver from a living donor, which is 78%; because they have to wait less for the surgery and their condition at the time of surgery is relatively better than those who receive cadaver liver.

In Patients with Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the most common reason for chronic liver disease requiring liver transplant. However, liver transplant success rate for hepatitis patients can be affected by reinfection and recurrence of disease in transplanted liver. The chances of recurrence are more common in Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B can also reoccur and according to latest recommendations, patients with Hepatitis B who undergo liver transplant need to take an immunoglobulin HepaGram B, as injection, for the remaining lifetime.

In Patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis leads to the development of portal hypertension and results in liver failure. Liver transplant is the treatment of choice for these patients. Liver transplant success rate in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis is very good.

In Patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis

Patients with autoimmune hepatitis are also good candidates for transplant with a 90% one year survival rate. 5 year survival rate for these patients is about 70-80%. A compromised immune system of the recipient is associated with higher chances of rejection.

Life After Liver Transplant

Certain lifestyle changes are required following a liver transplant; these include a balanced diet and regular physical activity. An active healthy lifestyle can benefit liver disease at any stage and significantly reduces the chances of rejection.

1.       Mind Your Diet

A balanced and healthy diet is necessary after liver transplant. Proper supply of nutrients is essential for the healing process. A nutritionist can help to devise a diet plan according to specific needs and to avoid un-necessary burden on the new liver. Excessive or careless eating can result in weight gain, high blood glucose or increased cholesterol levels, which are harmful for the transplanted organ.

The food must be carefully stored, handled and thoroughly cooked to avoid any chances of food related infections. Care should be taken to check the dates and labels on all food items, especially frozen or tinned food. Raw fish, meat and poultry shouldn't be taken; milk and juices must be properly pasteurized before consumption.

2.       Have Regular Check-Ups

An increased risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease is present in patients undergoing liver transplant. It is essential to look for the early warning signs to prevent these worst outcomes. Regular blood tests and follow up is necessary to catch any abnormalities at an early and treatable stage. Besides, patients undergo liver transplant are also more prone to have bone fractures due to poor nutritional state and it is essential to measure bone density.

3.       Make Lifestyle Changes

It is necessary to have regular exercise after any major surgery to speed up recovery. With liver transplant, it's no exception. Exercise must be started under supervision and increase the intensity gradually so as to increase your liver transplant success rate.

Alcohol is not advised after a liver transplant. Many patients need a transplant due to alcoholic liver disease so the best course of action is to steer clear from it.

4.       Caution with Sex and Pregnancy

A majority of people are able to resume normal sex life 6-8 weeks after a liver transplant. The wait is advised to protect the abdominal muscles and for better healing of the scar tissue. The risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases increases following a liver transplant and it is advised to take precautions.

Women of child bearing age can get pregnant a year after the procedure to avoid any complications. Be sure to consult a doctor before using birth control pills and any other hormonal ways as these could leave a negative effect on your liver. Condoms are a safer option.

5.       Take Immunosuppressants as Required

Immunosuppressants are recommended for the rest of life in liver transplant patients. The body can detect the transplanted liver as an invading foreign body and start destroying it. To counter this effect, medications are used to slow down the immune system.

The two main types of Immunosuppressants used after liver transplant are:

  • Calcineurin inhibitors, this group includes ciclosporin and tacrolimus
  • Corticosteroids, one of the most commonly used steroid is prednisolone

To achieve better results, a high dose of Immunosuppressants is given for first three months and gradually reduced.

6.       Return to Normal Activity

Driving is not advised for a couple of months after the procedure as it can be stressful and the medication can impair the vision and reflexes, which may impact your liver transplant success rate. Going back to work also depends upon a lot of factors like your general physical condition and the nature of job. It is decided on case to case bases as some people are ready to go back earlier than others.

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