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Organ Transplantation at a Glance

It is an operation that replaces the affected organ of a terminally ill patient with a healthy organ of a brain-dead or a living person. Transplantation is performed on a patient who cannot be treated with conventional therapies due to intractable diseases. Transplantation of organs including the solid organs such as the kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, and lungs as well as the tissues such as the cornea, bone marrow, bones, blood vessels and heart valves are possible. After the first successful kidney transplantation in 1969, transplantation of the kidney, cornea, and bone marrow has been performed. Thereafter, the first deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT) in 1988 was succeeded by the pancreatic and heart transplantations in 1992 and the lung transplantation in 1996.

Liver Transplantation

The liver is a vital organ for maintaining life. Its functions are so diverse and complex that there is no artificial device that can replace it. Therefore, the only way to treat patients with end-stage liver diseases is liver transplantation. Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure that removes the affected liver and replaces it with a healthy one.

1. Recipient

Adult patients with end-stage liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and acute fulminant hepatic failures and pediatric patients with congenital liver cirrhosis, biliary atresia, and metabolic liver diseases are all indications for liver transplantation. Whether or not recipients are good candidates for liver transplantation is determined by examining and analyzing each patient’s medical condition and characteristics.

2. Donor

The liver is an organ that can be transplanted in part or in whole. Patients can receive a portion of the liver from family members or a whole liver from brain dead patients. The donor’s remaining liver regenerates, allowing for the donor to lead a normal healthy life without risks. A donor and recipient must be of similar build and should have compatible blood types, and possibility for donation is determined after thorough examinations. A donor whose liver functions are normal and healthy is qualified as a donor candidate as long as the liver is without illness, infection, and cancer.