Liver Transplant

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Liver transplant, a relatively specialized surgery, continues to increase with over 17,000 Americans waiting to have their turn. Based on the data of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), an organization that assists in organ sharing among histocompatibility laboratories, organ procurement organizations, and transplant centers, there are more than 5,000 cases that were carried out in 2002.

With the alarming rate of liver diseases, liver transplant seems to be the only hope especially for those who are already experiencing severe liver damage.

Complications of liver diseases are numerous and varied. Some people are not yet aware of their conditions until it has come out too late. That’s because most of the liver problems are asymptomatic. However, if the liver has already been damaged and the only chance to survive is to undergo liver transplant, then there is no reason to avoid such process.

The process can be pretty risky since this involves the life of the patient. It is crucial, therefore, to consider the basic factors to eliminate the risk or at least lessen it. Before the process, the patient and his or her relatives must understand the following pointers:

1. Do your homework

If the doctor has advised for transplantation, it is best that a thorough analysis and contemplation should be made prior to the actual decision. It is but normal to seek second opinion. Ideas from other medical experts may help lessen the worries.

You can also research more about the condition of the patient and understand if submitting to such procedure would do more good.

2. Liver support therapy

Like a typical foreign object that enters the body, transplanted liver can create reactions that may not be favorable to the patient unless thorough examinations and tests have been conducted.

The patient should submit himself to a liver support therapy prior to the actual process of transplantation. This is simply the act of bridging the gap between the existing conditions to that of transplantation. Therapies may include liver dialysis or the cleansing of damaged liver against toxins.

3. Analyzing the situation

As mentioned, there are many patients waiting and hoping that someday they can live the normal life again with a newly transplanted liver. However, with the increasing rate of patients, liver donations are becoming scarce. Hence, the UNOS have categorized the number of patients according to the most critical. This is based on the clinical data and laboratory results of the patients. This is needed to provide a fair treatment to all patients who are in need of a new liver.

People have to understand that doing transplantation is not an easy thing. Just as how cars or any motor-driven vehicle may not run or function normally when their parts have been replaced with the wrong ones, so does the body. Careful study on the liver being donated and on the condition of the patient who will use the liver should be observed at all times. If done by mistake, liver transplant may even do more harm than good.

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