The liver is a vital and important organ in the human body. The liver filters blood coming from the digestive tract before it goes to the rest of the body. It also detoxifies harmful substances. It is the largest internal organ and works 24 hours a day.
Because the liver is a complex organ it is susceptible to many complications such as hepatitis which is inflammation of the liver. Inflammation can be caused by viruses and also lifestyle factors such as alcohol, obesity, and allergic reactions. When the liver is scarred from chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease, or fat build up it leads to cirrhosis. This condition prevents the liver from functioning properly.
When treatment is unable to prevent damage to the liver, a transplant is the last option for patients with end-stage liver disease. There are two types of transplants. The first is deceased donor liver transplant and the second is living donor liver transplant. If the wait time is too long for the first type of transplant, the second type, LDLT, can be a viable option. According to the Mayo Clinic:
“You may have a shorter waiting period and equal or improved life expectancy with a living-donor transplant.” ~ Mayo Clinic
During an LDLT procedure, the surgeon removes the entire damaged liver of the recipient and replaces it with a portion of the healthy liver from the donor. It’s expected that the livers of both parties will grow back and be healthy. Two additional benefits of the LDLT procedure are that it allows scheduling of the procedure so that the recipient can be properly prepared and the quality of the graft may be better since it is received from a healthy donor and the cold ischaemic time (duration which the donor tissue is on ice) is shorter.
Several international hospitals have centers of excellence devoted to liver transplants. Investigating and researching the best options locally and globally early on for LDLT can optimize your chances for a return to proper health.