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Causes and Risk of Liver Transplant in Children

Causes And Risk Of Liver Transplant In Children

Dr. Bipin Vibhute in Pune
Dr. Bipin Vibhute

Gastroenterology-Hepatologist, Pune

06, Apr 2021
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A liver transplant is a critical surgery in which a diseased liver is replaced with a healthy liver. The new liver may be obtained from an organ donor who has just died or a part of the liver can also be obtained from a healthy living person willing to donate a part of his liver. Such a donor is called a living donor. A living donor may be a family member. Or it can also be someone who is not related to your child but has a matching blood type. Individuals who donate a part of their liver can live a healthy life based on their remaining liver. The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate to its original size and shape. In the case of the liver transplant, the donor’s liver will very soon grow back to normal size after surgery. The part that your child receives as a new liver will also grow to normal size in a few weeks. Why might my child need a liver transplant? A liver transplant will be suggested by your doctor in case of serious liver problems when no other options are available. One of the most common liver disease in children which requires a liver transplant is biliary atresia. It is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that observed to occur in newborns. Other conditions may include: Liver cancer & other liver tumours Because of autoimmune diseases or due to unknown causes, or an overdose of medicine, such as acetaminophen a sudden or acute liver failure Other Hereditary or Genetic liver diseases Conditions present at birth, such as Alagille syndrome or cholestatic disorders Viral hepatitis Hemochromatosis – A buildup of too much iron in the body, which may damage organs. Alpha-1 antitrypsin, an inherited condition that raises the risk for liver disease What are the risks of a liver transplant for a child? Possible complications from liver transplant surgery in children may include: Bleeding Rejection of the new liver by the body’s immune system Infection Blocked blood vessels to the new liver Blocked bile ducts or leakage of bile The new liver not working for a short time right after surgery Rejection of a new organ is a normal reaction of the body’s immune system, or disease-fighting system, to a foreign object or tissue. When a new liver is transplanted into your child’s body, the immune system thinks it is a threat and attacks it. To help the new liver get accepted in your child’s body, your child must take anti-rejection medicines prescribed by his doctor. These are called immunosuppressants. These medicines weaken the immune system’s response. Your child needs to take these medicines for the rest of his or her life.
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