The number of liver transplants in India has increased substantially in the past few years. With a 95% success rate, about 18000 liver transplants are done in India every year. So, what exactly is a liver transplant, and why is it needed? Read the blog to know everything about liver transplants in India.
The human liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It is the only organ that can regrow itself after a part of it is removed. It can grow to its original size in a couple of months. Further, the human liver performs multiple functions that are vital to our body. As such, we cannot live without a healthy functioning liver. And that is why most doctors recommend liver transplant surgery to patients with end-stage liver failure.
A liver transplant, alternatively known as a hepatic transplant, is a surgical procedure to replace a damaged or failed liver with a healthy and functional liver. It is a universal procedure for treating end-stage chronic liver disease (ESLD), commonly known as cirrhosis.
Some of the common reasons for a liver transplant are:
- Last-stage Cirrhosis – occurs due to primary biliary sclerosis, chronic hepatitis, hemochromatosis, alcoholic cirrhosis, etc.
- Genetic liver disease
- Liver cancers like primary hepatocellular malignancies, hepatic adenomas, Cholangiocarcinoma, and primary hepatocellular carcinoma
- Fulminant viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D), and hepatic thrombosis can result in Fulminant hepatic failure.
Liver transplant is also done in children. The most common reason for liver transplant in children is biliary atresia. It is a rare condition in infants where the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is either absent or blocked. Bile ducts are tubes that carry bile out of the liver. If these are damaged or missing, it obstructs the flow of bile, causing Cirrhosis. If not treated timely, the condition leads to liver failure. The only treatment for this disease is a liver transplant.
There are mainly two types of liver transplants based on the donor of the liver:
A living donor, in most cases, is a family or close relative of the patient. Two qualities are associated with a living donor transplant:
- Reserve: 25% of the liver can provide enough functions for a person. Hence, a donor can tolerate the removal of a major portion of the liver.
- Regenerate: Because of the regenerative abilities of the liver, the division or transplant is mostly completed within 2-3 months.
Patients here receive a liver from a deceased donor who has been declared brain dead. The blood groups and size of the deceased donor and the receiver are matched and transplanted. Since the number of patients needing a transplant is higher than that of donors, this transplant is not very common.
In India, almost 2,00,000 people die of liver disease every year, and around 50,000 – 60,000 require a liver transplant.
Liver transplant is legal in our country. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, India, was passed in 1994. The first successful Living Donor Liver Transplant (LDLT) and Deceased Donor Liver Transplant (DDLT) were performed in 1998. It’s worth noting that this Act also allows international patients to undergo a liver transplant in India.
In the last few years, India has emerged as a center for liver transplants in Southeast Asia. Interestingly, the success rate for liver transplants in India is 90%-95%, at par with some of the best centers worldwide.
Multi-specialty hospitals in India like BLK Max offer world-class specialists, top-class infrastructure, and advanced equipment that ensure successful liver transplants in patients of all age groups. The cost of liver transplants in our country is also comparatively less than that in the rest of the world.
The liver is an important organ and is responsible for many bodily functions. Hence, we should take care of it. Unfortunately, people are increasingly suffering from various liver diseases, causing their livers to fail or be damage. While it’s true that liver transplant in India is very much a reality, the number of patients is still higher than the number of transplants. The situation demands responsible citizens of the country to step up as potential donors to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
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