The Institutes are well known for several organ transplantation procedures such as liver transplants, kidney transplants, corneal transplants, heart transplants, intestinal and GI transplants, pancreatic transplants and pediatric transplants.
Reasons For Needing Liver Transplant
In adults, the most common reason for needing a liver transplant is cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can be caused by many different types of diseases that destroy healthy liver cells and replace them with scar tissue. Some causes of cirrhosis are
- long-term infection with the hepatitis C virus
- drinking too much alcohol over time
- autoimmune liver diseases
- long-term infection with the hepatitis B virus
- the buildup of fat in the liver
- hereditary liver diseases
- Other reasons for needing a liver transplant include
- sudden liver failure, called acute liver failure, most often caused by taking too much
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- liver cancers that have not spread outside the liver
How will I know whether I need a liver transplant?
Your doctor will decide whether you need to go to a liver transplant center to be evaluated by a liver transplant team. The team will include liver transplant surgeons; liver specialists, called hepatologists; nurses; social workers; and other health care professionals. The transplant team will examine you and run blood tests, x rays, and other tests to help decide whether you would benefit from a transplant.
The transplant team will also check to see if
- your heart, lungs, kidneys, and immune system are strong enough for surgery
- you are mentally and emotionally ready to have a transplant
- you have family members or friends who can care for you before and after the transplant
Even if you are approved for a transplant, you may choose not to have it. To help you decide, the transplant team will explain the
- patient selection process
- operation and recovery
- long-term demands of living with a liver transplant, such as taking medicines for the rest of your life
During your evaluation, and while waiting for a transplant, you should take care of your health. Your doctor will tell you what you can do to stay strong while you wait for a new liver.