Because the liver is the only organ in the body that regenerates or grows back, a transplanted segment of the liver can grow to normal size within a few months. Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure performed to remove a diseased or injured liver from one person and replace it with a whole or portion of a healthy liver from another person called a donor. Liver transplant is not an option for people
- Aged 65 years or older with other serious illness.
- With severe organ disease due to diabetes.
- With severe obesity.
- With severe and active liver disease such as hepatitis B.
- Who are currently on alcohol and drugs.
- Who have severe or uncontrollable infection (human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]).
- Who are diagnosed with aggressive cancers such as bile duct cancer, lymphomas, bone cancer, and myeloma type cancer.
- With failure of other organs apart from the liver.
- With irreversible brain damage or disease.
- With severe untreatable lung, liver, and heart diseases.
- Who are diagnosed with portal vein thrombosis (PVT). It is a vascular disease of the liver that occurs when a blood clot occurs in the hepatic portal vein, which can lead to increased pressure in the portal vein system and reduced blood supply to the liver.
- With hepatorenal syndrome (HRS). HRS is a type of progressive kidney failure seen in people with severe liver damage, most often caused by cirrhosis. As the kidneys stop functioning, toxins begin to build up in the body. Eventually, this leads to liver failure.
- With pulmonary hypertension. It is a condition of increased blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, syncope, tiredness, chest pain, swelling of the legs, and a fast heartbeat. The condition may make it difficult to exercise.
- With autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, etc.).
Who may qualify for a liver transplant?
Never will a race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation have any part in deciding if a patient is a transplant candidate. Liver transplant is major surgery; hence, a patient should meet certain criteria that include:
- A patient’s quality of life may be improved with a liver transplant.
- The patient should not have other diseases that cannot be treated or are not too sick to likely survive the transplant surgery.
- All other medical or surgical treatment options either have not worked or are not a good choice for the patient.
- The patient and support systems (family and friends) understand and accept the risks of having a liver transplant.
- The patient’s support systems are fully committed to and compliant with what is needed before and after the transplant to make the transplant a success. This would include access to funding for the transplant procedure, post-transplant medicines, and other healthcare costs. The social worker and patient financial liaison may be able to help find other ways to pay for their care.
Indications for liver transplantation are as follows:
- The patient has an acute (sudden) onset of liver failure.
- The patient has had cirrhosis (liver disease) for a long time.
- The patient has a liver disease that will lead to death or hurt their quality of life.
- The patient had treatments that did not work (and others are not expected to work).
- The patient has diseases that affect the bile ducts (the tubes that carry the bile away from the liver), such as primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and biliary atresia. Biliary atresia is the most common reason for a liver transplant among children.
What are the potential complications of liver transplantation?
Complications of liver transplantation may occur early (in the first 30 days) or later (after 30 days):
- Primary non-function (the liver never works)
- Delayed liver function (the liver does not work right away)
- Bleeding (that requires surgery)
- Clotting of the major blood vessels to the liver
- Rejection (usually in first 3 months)
- Recurrent disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure and other side effects of anti-rejection medications
- Multiorgan failure
- Anesthesia reactions
- Leakage in the bile
- Excessive bleeding
- Damage to other organs during the procedure
- Less immunity due to immunosuppressants
What is the outlook of a liver transplantation procedure?
- CDC Warns of Potentially Fatal Bacterial Illness on U.S. Gulf Coast
- Helping Others as Volunteers Helps Kids 'Flourish': Study
- FDA Approves Pfizer's RSV Shot for Older Adults
- What to Do When Tough-to-Treat Lymphoma Strikes During Pregnancy
- Rate of Pregnant U.S. Women Who Have Diabetes Keeps Rising
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Disqualifies You for a Liver Transplant? Related Articles
cordycepsCordyceps is considered an adaptogen, a substance that is believed to help people adapt to and manage stress, anxiety, and fatigue, and is believed to enhance overall health, kidney and liver function, athletic performance, and cognitive abilities. Cordyceps is believed to have immune-boosting, antitumor, and antioxidant properties and appears to also reduce blood glucose levels and slow blood clotting process. Cordyceps is generally safe for most adults. Rare, mild side effects include stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation. Do not take cordyceps if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Doptelet (avatrombopag)Doptelet is a prescription medicine used to treat low blood platelet counts in adults with long-lasting (chronic) liver disease (CLD) or chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Serious side effects of Doptelet include blood clots.
fresh frozen plasmaFresh frozen plasma is administered as an intravenous transfusion based on ABO blood group compatibility. The uses of fresh frozen plasma include managing and preventing bleeding, replacement of coagulation factors, and plasma exchange in adults with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Common side effects of fresh frozen plasma include transfusion-transmitted infections and septic reactions, hemolytic transfusion reactions that destroy red blood cells, feverish (febrile) non-hemolytic reactions, transfusion related acute lung injury (TRALI), transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GVHD), transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO), and allergic reactions.
Liver QuizDo you know the symptoms of liver disease? What is hepatitis? Take this quiz to learn about your liver and how to keep it healthy.
Givlaari (givosiran)Givlaari (givosiran) is a prescription medication used to treat adults with acute hepatic porphyria (AHP). Serious side effects of Givlaari include anaphylactic reaction, hepatic toxicity, renal toxicity, and injection site reactions.
14 Best and Worst Foods for Your LiverGet some simple diet tips to keep your liver healthy, including the best veggies to keep disease away and some snacks you'll want to avoid.
How Long Does a Liver Biopsy Procedure Take?A liver biopsy is a safe and quick procedure that takes around five minutes to complete. You may, however, be asked to lie on the bed for two hours after the procedure and take it easy for the next 24 hours.
How Serious Is a Liver Biopsy?A liver biopsy can be performed in an outpatient setting. In the hands of an experienced doctor, it rarely produces complications. Mild pain in the upper right abdomen that goes away within a few hours is the most common complication of a liver biopsy.
How Successful Is a Liver Transplant?A liver transplant is a surgical procedure performed to remove a damaged or failed liver and replace it with a healthy liver. Liver transplant is usually only performed for severe, end-stage chronic liver disease, which can no longer be treated by other treatment options.
Liver CancerLiver cancer is cancer of the liver cells (hepatocellular carcinoma) or of the ducts in the liver (cholangiocarcinoma). Liver cancer often arises due to liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring) caused by alcohol use/abuse, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Liver cancer may not cause any symptoms. Liver cancer is diagnosed with blood tests, imaging tests, and a liver biopsy. Treatment for liver cancer may include surgery, ablation, embolization, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Liver DiseaseLiver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Liver Disease QuizWhat is liver disease? Take the Liver Disease Quiz and test your knowledge about this organ and its function.
Liver PictureFront View of the Liver. The liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. See a picture of the Liver and learn more about the health topic.
mycophenolateMycophenolate is an immunosuppressant medication used to prevent rejection of transplant organs (heart, kidney, and liver). Common side effects of mycophenolate include high or low blood pressure (hypertension or hypotension), exacerbation of hypertension, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), swelling (edema), lower extremity edema, peripheral edema, blood clot formation (thrombosis), inflammation of the vein (phlebitis), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol level in the blood (hypercholesterolemia), high level of blood fats (hyperlipidemia), high uric acid level in the blood (hyperuricemia), high or low blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia/hypokalemia), and others. Mycophenolate can cause fetal harm and should not be used in pregnant women. Do not use if breastfeeding.
mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept) is a drug prescribed for the prophylaxis of organ rejection in people receiving kidney, heart, or liver transplants. Common side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, pain, pain in the stomach area, high blood pressure, and swelling of the lower legs, ankles, or feet.
Sandimmune (cyclosporine)Sandimmune (cyclosporine) is used with adrenal corticosteroids to prevent organ rejection after a kidney, liver, or heart transplant surgery. Sandimmune is also used to treat people with severe rheumatoid arthritis or severe psoriasis. Side effects of Sandimmune include renal dysfunction, tremor, hirsutism, hypertension, and gum hyperplasia.
What Does it Mean If You Have Urobilinogen in Your Urine?Urobilinogen is a substance that is produced when bilirubin, a waste product produced by the breakdown of red blood cells, is processed in the liver and released into the intestine. Excess urobilinogen in urine may indicate liver diseases, such as viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver damage. It is caused by drugs, toxic substances, or conditions associated with increased red blood cell destruction (hemolytic anemia). In a person with low urine urobilinogen and/or signs of liver dysfunction, it can be indicative of hepatic or biliary obstruction.