What is live liver transplant
Living donor liver transplantation, made possible by the unique ability of the liver to regenerate within 6-8 weeks, is a life saving procedure. Success with living kidney donation, coupled with the chronic shortage of organs and long waiting times for pediatric patients with end-stage liver disease, stimulated the development of living donor liver transplantation. In 1989, the first living donor liver transplant was performed in the U.S. between a mother and her child, who had irreversible liver damage. Since that time, thousands of children and adults have received living donor liver transplants, with outcomes comparable to deceased donation.
Preliminary results with adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation, in which either a full right side or full left side of the liver from a healthy adult is transplanted into another adult, are also very encouraging. It is important to note that only those people with irreversible liver failure, for whom all other medical or surgical treatments have failed,qualify as candidates for a liver transplant. The prevalence of the hepatitis C virus, which can lead to irreversible liver damage, along with the chronic shortage of deceased donors has resulted in long wait for those in need of a transplant.
Advantages of living liver donation
Advantages of living liver donationLiving liver organ donation provides those waiting for liver transplantation with many advantages over deceased organ donation. These include:
Shortened waiting times:
The length of time it takes for an organ to become available is significantly reduced when the organ comes from a living donor versus a deceased donor. Depending on their condition, diagnosis, status, blood type and size, patients can be on the waiting list for months or even years. Many patients will die while waiting for a deceased donor organ. Should a relative or loved one meet the criteria for living liver donation, the wait time and risk of death while on the waiting list can be reduced.
Healthier donor organ:
Living donors tend to be young, healthy adults who have undergone a thorough medical evaluation. As a result, the liver from a living donor is usually healthier than a liver from a deceased donor.
Surgery can be scheduled electively:
With living donor liver transplantation, it is possible for the recipient to have surgery earlier. This increases the chances for a quicker recovery. In addition, the time between recovering the liver and transplanting it is minimized to minutes instead of hours as with a deceased donation transplant, something that is critical to the preservation of the donor organ.
A feeling of satisfaction:
For a living donor, knowing that he or she has made a contribution to the improved health of another individual is a very positive psychological experience.