What is Living Donor Liver Transplantation?

Living Donor Liver Transplantation

(LDLT) is the process where a living person donates a part of their liver to someone with end stage acute liver disease like cirrhosis of liver caused by destruction and abnormal scarring of liver tissues. The only line of treatment available to treat such a patient would be the replacement of the diseased organ with a functioning new liver from a dead person. However, the demand for healthy livers outnumbers the supply at any given point of time. Around 17000 people in the US alone, are waiting to receive liver transplants.

Liver for Transplant

Living Donor Liver Transplantation

was devised to address the following two issues:

  • The acute shortage of functioning normal livers to be transplanted.
  • The extraordinary regenerative capacity of the human liver to survive a partial transplantation.

Criteria to be met by the Live Donor

  • Any living relative like parent, children, spouse, sibling or a friend or volunteer could make the donation.
  • The donor should not be have any financial motivation leading to his commitment.
  • Have a blood type which matches or is compatible with the recipient.
  • The donor should be disease free, in good health and between 18 and 60 years of age.
  • Should have a physical frame similar or bigger than the recipient.
  • The donor has to go through a physical good health screening prior to the procedure. This includes detailed tests of the liver to reduce the probabilities of a graft rejection later on.

LDLT procedure

For an adult patient, around 55-70% of the right lobe of a healthy donor is generally transplanted. The amazing regeneration of the liver will enable the donor to regain the size, volume, original structure and 100% functioning capacity within 4-6 weeks. In most cases, it is possible to remove 70% of the liver from the donor without any harm.
The transplanted part in the patient will also regenerate normally. But in such patients the recovery process is definitely longer than in the donors.

Complications of Living Donor Liver Transplantation

The probability of the donor developing complications is as low as 10%. Blood Clots and Biliary problems often occur post surgery, but these are easily managed with medications. The incidence of LDLT turning fatal is low in the US. There is only a 0.5% to 1.0% chance of death. However, during the time when the liver is regenerating the immunity is decreased.

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