January 29, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi
Did you know that the Department of Solid Organ Transplant at the Amrita School of Medicine has completed 86 liver transplants?
This means that 86 people who were diagnosed with liver failure received a second lease on life due to a liver transplant, either from a live donor or a cadaver.
Recently a 20-year-old boy received both a liver and a kidney from a deceased donor.
Of the 86 liver transplants at Amrita, only 7 were made possible by transplants from deceased donors.
“It is our wish to get more organs from cadavers, as they have no use for them,” stated Dr. Sudhindran, a vascular and transplant surgeon at Amrita, who leads the team performing these transplant operations. “If all of us agree to donate our organs after death, perhaps this will become a reality.”
The doctor also spoke about different aspects of liver transplant operations.
Liver and Liver Transplantation
Liver is the largest gland in the human body. It is a factory that performs many functions including digestion of food, cleaning waste from blood, making proteins to help clot blood, storing glycogen for energy, breaking down poisons and medicines. When the liver is seriously damaged, liver transplantation is the only treatment currently available to prolong the patient’s life.
Signs of Liver Failure
The signs are jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), encephalopathy (forgetfulness, confusion or coma), fatigue, ascites (build-up of fluid in the stomach), haemetemesis (vomiting of blood), poor clotting of blood and swelling of the legs.
Most Common Reasons for Liver Failure
The most common reason for liver failure in children is biliary atresia, a disease in which ducts that carry bile out of the liver are damaged. In adults, liver failure takes the form of Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C and cirrhosis, the latter caused due to alcohol abuse. Alcoholics may have the false notion that if their liver function tests are normal, their liver is healthy. Even with liver damage of 50%, liver function tests can be normal. Often when the problem is detected, liver damage is quite extensive.
Life of Transplanted Livers
The longest reported survival is 25 years after transplant. With improvements in transplantation techniques and medications, patients receiving liver transplants are expected to have long and productive lives.