Liver Transplantation: Life Goes On

Liver transplantation or hepatic transplantation is a surgery which undergoes replacement of a diseased liver with all of a healthy liver from another person.

Liver Transplantaion

The first human liver transplantion was performed in 1963 by a surgical team led by Dr. Thomas Starzl of Denver, Colorado, United States. The first living liver donation was happened in Britain in December 2012, St James University Hospital Leeds.

The liver is a vital organ, that serves many critical functions including metabolism of drugs and toxins, removing degradation products of normal body metabolism, and synthesis of many important proteins and enzymes.

A successful liver transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with liver failure, a condition in which the liver no longer works. People who require liver transplants typically have one of the following conditions.

Acute Liver Failure

Acute liver failure or fulminant hepatic failure, occurs when a previously healthy liver suffers with massive injury resulting in clinical signs and symptoms of liver insufficiency.

Chronic Liver Failure

The liver has a remarkable ability to repair itself in response to injury. Nevertheless, repeated injury and repair, typically over many years and even decades, scars the liver permanently. The main causes of chronic liver injury are Viral Hepatitis, Alcoholic Liver Disease, Metabolic Liver Disease, Autoimmune Liver Disease, Genetic Liver Disease, Vascular Liver Disease, Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

The main signs and symptoms of decompensated liver disease are gastrointestinal bleeding, fluid retention , encephalopathy and jaundice.

Commonly used drugs to prevent rejection by suppressing the immune system are listed below. Corticosteroids , Calcineurin inhibitors, Mycophenolate mofetil , mTOR inhibitors, antibodies that target the IL-2 receptor, a signaling molecule that amplifies the immune response, Antibodies that remove T cells from the circulation , Investigational drugs.

The encouraging trend is that over the past 20 years short and long term patient survival has continued to improve. With advances in surgical technique, organ preservation, peri-operative care, and immunosuppression, survival will hopefully continue to improve in the future.

Journal of Transplantation & Stem Cell Biology

Leave a Comment