Study shows that liver is the second most transplanted organ in the human body. Liver diseases are becoming more and more common today. It is important however, to understand the various situations under which a liver transplant may be considered.
Here are some of the most common reasons for a liver transplant:
Chronic Viral Hepatitis B, C, D
Hepatitis is caused by the viral infection that results in inflammation, swelling and cell death. All this leads to liver destruction or scarring. The different types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B is the leading indication of liver cancer worldwide.
In this type of hepatitis, the body’s immune system is not able to recognize it’s own liver tissue. It thus begins to injure the liver cells and that finally leads to scarring, liver cirrhosis and end stage liver disease. Unlike chronic viral hepatitis, this disease is not caused by a virus.
Laennec cirrhosis is caused by the toxic effects of excessive alcohol. Alcohol abuse can cause great damage to the liver which is one of the leading causes for liver transplants.
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Fat accumulation in the liver cells causes this disease. It is said that excessive alcohol is the main cause of a fatty liver. But this condition is also seen in patients with diabetes and obesity. This condition can cause liver cirrhosis.
Sometimes the liver develops cirrhosis for no apparent reason like alcohol abuse or viral infection etc. This is called cryptogenic cirrhosis.
Sometimes there is a blockage in the bile duct. The liver produces bile which flows from the bile duct to the gall bladder. From here it is slowly released to the small intestine and helps in digesting fats. When the bile duct is blocked, all the bile that is produced accumulates in the liver and causes swelling and eventually loss of liver function.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
In this disease, the bile duct becomes progressively damaged by inflammation. This results in scarring that narrows the bile duct and causes obstruction to the flow of bile.
The bile ducts become dilated and results in the formation of cysts or sacks. This causes infection and obstruction of the bile ducts.
This is a congenital disorder. A choledochal cyst is formed due to a structurally flawed bile duct.
Active Liver Failure
People suffering from acute liver failure caused by other reasons such as viral infection, fatty liver, etc. can undergo liver transplant surgery.
Exposure to certain pesticides, herbicides, lead, asbestos and other hazardous pollutants can be the cause of a potentially life threatening liver disease.
Tumors that spread either from other parts of the body or those that develop in the liver itself can cause serious damage to this organ.
Well, this was a broad discussion of all the conditions that could lead to a liver transplant. Not limited to these, there are several conditions that can be treated at the right center for a liver transplant. Other reasons could include injury from accidents, glycogen storage disease and lots more.