Who Requires a Liver Transplant

Who requires a liver transplant?

Not every patient with a liver condition requires a liver transplant. Many respond well to other forms of treatment like medication. In some cases, treating the overlying cause of the liver failure can restore the functioning of the liver. Patients who are diagnosed with irreversible liver failure, those with liver cancer untreatable by other modalities, those with metabolic liver diseases and types of acute poisoning that have resulted in the permanent damage of the liver require a liver transplant. 

What’s the eligibility criteria for a liver transplant?

Once a patient is declared to be in end-stage liver failure, the doctor needs to assess if the patient fits the eligibility criteria for a liver transplant. While each transplant centre has its own criteria, they are all by and large the same across centres in different countries. Age is not a contraindication. The following must be determined during the assessment:

  • Is the patient healthy or fit enough to have the surgery and tolerate the lifelong post-transplant medication?
  • Do they have any medical conditions, like extensive cancer or uncontrolled infection, that would interfere with the success of the transplant?
  • Are they willing to follow the post-transplant medication and lifestyle modifications that will be necessary to ensure the continued success of the transplant?

The evaluation may include nutrition counselling, psychological evaluation and addiction counselling (if the liver damage is caused by excessive and sustained consumption of alcohol and drugs). Once the evaluation is complete and the patient is found eligible, they are placed on the transplant list.