|Normal vs. Diseased Liver|
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Reasons for Procedure
- Hepatitis A , B , or C
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis, which is a disease of the bile ducts
- Sudden liver failure
- Congenital defects such as biliary atresia
- Liver tumors
- Metabolic defects such as Wilson disease
- Poisoning or drug-induced damage
- Rejection of the transplanted liver
- Damage to nearby organs
- Bile-duct obstruction or bile leakage into the body
- Complications from immunosuppressive drugs
- Blood clots
- Alcohol use disorder
- Type 2 diabetes
- Poor nutrition
- Additional illnesses
- Serious heart, lung, or kidney disease
- Use of certain medications
- Current infection
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- CT scan
- Chest x-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Psychological testing and counseling—to help you to be prepared for the transplant
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Take medications as directed. Do not take over-the-counter medications without checking with your doctor.
- The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home. Also, arrange for someone to help you at home.
- If advised by your doctor, use an enema. The enema will clean out the intestines and prevent constipation after surgery.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
- Breathing tube until you can breathe on your own
- IV fluids and medication
- Bladder catheter to drain urine
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Receive fluids and nutrition through an IV—You will slowly transition to eating.
- Breathe deeply and cough 10-20 times every hour—This will help your lungs work better after surgery.
- Take immunosuppressive drugs—You will need to take these for the rest of your life. These drugs reduce the chance that your body will reject the new liver. They also have potential side effects, like infection and cancer. Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor.
- Take proper care of the incision site. This will help to prevent an infection.
- Work with a physical therapist. Exercises will help you to regain strength.
- Monitor your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and weight.
- Follow a special diet. This diet will help to prevent water retention and to maintain a normal weight and blood pressure.
- Take medications as advised by your doctor.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills—you are at increased risk for infection because of the immunosuppressive drugs
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Black or tarry stools, constipation, or diarrhea that does not go away after two loose stools
- You are unable to take your medications
- Red or rusty-brown urine
- Any skin rash or sores in your mouth
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
- Exposure to infections, such as mumps, measles, chickenpox or shingles
- Headache, confusion, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
- Unusual weakness
- Illness that requires emergency room treatment or hospitalization
American Liver Foundation http://www.liverfoundation.org
United Network for Organ Sharing http://www.transplantliving.org
Canadian Liver Foundation http://www.liver.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Gee I, Alexander G. Liver transplantation for hepatitis C virus related liver disease. Postgrad Med J. 2005;81(962):765-771.
Liu CL, Fan ST. Adult-to-adult live-donor liver transplantation: the current status. J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2006;13(2):110-116.
Liver transplant. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/transplant. Accessed August 14, 2014.
Neuberger J. Developments in liver transplantation. Gut. 2004;53(5):759-768.
O’Grady JG. Liver tansplantation alcohol related liver disease: (deliberately) stirring a hornet’s nest! Gut. 2006;55(11):1529-1531.
What I need to know about liver transplantation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/liver-transplant/Pages/facts.aspx. Updated May 10, 2012. Accessed August 15, 2014.
- Reviewer: Donald Buck, MD
- Review Date: 09/2015 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -