A liver transplant is a surgery in which a diseased liver is replaced with a healthy liver from someone else. The new liver could come from a recently deceased organ donor. A healthy living person’s liver can also be used. This is referred to as a living donor. A family member may be a living donor. It may also be someone who isn’t related to your child but has the same blood type as them. People who donate a portion of their liver will live a normal life with the remaining liver. The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate (replace) tissue that has been lost or destroyed. After surgery, the donor’s liver would quickly return to normal size.
Dr. Gaurav Gupta is a pioneer in liver transplant in Mumbai, India, who has an extensive experience in pediatric Liver Transplant, explained that in a few weeks, the portion that your child gets as a new liver will also develop to its usual size.
What are the chances that my child will require a liver transplant?
A liver transplant is prescribed for children with severe liver disease that will die if they do not receive a new liver. Biliary atresia is the most common liver condition in children who require transplants. This is a rare liver and bile duct condition that affects newborns. Other issues that can arise include:
- Cancer of the liver and other tumors of the liver.
- An autoimmune condition, unknown causes, or an overdose of drugs, such as acetaminophen, may trigger sudden or acute liver failure.
- Other inherited and genetic liver disorders
- Alagille syndrome or cholestatic disorders, for example, are conditions that are present at birth.
- Hepatitis caused by a virus
- The overabundance of iron in the body, which can damage organs. Hemochromatosis is the medical term for this condition.
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is an inherited disorder that increases the risk of liver disease.
What are the consequences of a child receiving a liver transplant?
The following are some of the possible side effects of a liver transplant:
- The immune system of the body rejects the new liver.
- Infection of Bleeding
- The new liver’s blood vessels are blocked.
- Bile leakage or clogged bile duct.
- For a brief period after surgery, the new liver did not function.
Rejection is the body’s immune system’s (or disease-fighting system’s) natural response to a foreign substance or tissue. When your child’s body receives a new liver, the immune system perceives it as a threat and destroys it.
Anti-rejection medications must be taken by your infant in order for the new liver to function in his or her body. Immunosuppressant are the term for these medications. The immune system’s reaction is weakened by these medications. These medications must be taken by your child for the remainder of his or her life.
What should I do to prepare my child for a liver transplant?
If your child’s doctor feels he or she may be a good candidate for a liver transplant, your child will be referred to a transplant center for evaluation. You can find the best Liver transplant hospitals. The transplant center’s team will meet your boy. Your child’s name will be put on a national transplant waiting list by the team. The following people will be part of the transplant center’s team:
- A surgeon who specializes in transplants
- A hepatologist is a transplant provider that specializes in liver treatment.
- Nurses who work with transplant recipients
- A social worker is a person who helps others.
- A therapist or psychologist will help you.
- Other members of the team can include a dietitian, a chaplain, or an anesthesiologist.
The transplant assessment procedure
Before your child may be put on the transplant waiting list, they must undergo a thorough examination. Many tests will be performed by the transplant center team, including:
- Evaluation of psychological and social factors: If your child is old enough, these tests will be performed on them as well as your relatives.
- Blood checks: These tests are performed to aid in the search for a suitable donor match and to determine your child’s priority on the waiting list. They will also increase the body’s chances of not rejecting the donor’s liver.
- Diagnostic tests: The child’s liver and general health may be examined. X-rays, ultrasounds, a liver biopsy, and dental examinations are examples of these tests.
All of your child’s test results and records will be reviewed by the transplant center team. Who is eligible for a liver transplant varies by the transplant center. If your child has the following conditions, he or she may not be eligible for a transplant:
- You have an untreatable current or chronic infection.
- Have cancer that has spread across the body. Cancer that has spread from its primary site to one or more other areas of the body is known as metastatic cancer.
- Have serious heart attacks or other medical issues.
- Have a serious illness other than the liver disease that would not improve with a transplant.