Participating in a liver transplant – whether as a live donor or as the recipient – means meeting certain criteria. One of the most important factors is that the donor is offering their liver for the right reasons and not for any monetary gain for example.
Donating part of your liver
Anyone who has volunteered to be part of a liver transplant must be aware of certain requirements and considerations -
- The donor must be in good health
- Aged between eighteen and sixty years of age
- Match the recipients blood type
- Avoid alcohol and substance abuse
- Make the decision to donate part of their liver with no undue pressure from any outside influence and only after the procedure and its associated risks have been fully explained by the medical practitioners involved in the case.
Receiving a liver transplant
Receiving a transplant of any kind is a major step but, nevertheless, is one which may well save the life of the recipient as well as improve their overall health and quality of life. Any individual waiting for a liver transplant is no doubt very anxious to find a donor; whilst they are waiting it is important to remember a few things -
- Age is not generally a factor for the recipient of a transplant
- Look after your physical health – an underlying medical condition may well exclude you from being a suitable recipient for a liver transplant. Individuals with a short life expectancy are unlikely to be offered a transplant due to the possible complications of this major surgical procedure.
- Look after your mental health – a candidate suffering from any mental health issues, such as depression or dementia, may well be disqualified from receiving a liver transplant.
- Eat a healthy well balanced diet and exclude alcohol from your diet.
- Any individual struggling with addiction should work to achieve a sober lifestyle whilst waiting for their transplant – enrolling on a rehabilitation program will facilitate this and show your determination to the medical professionals responsible for your care.
- Following the surgery it is essential to follow the instructions of your medial team exactly – taking the medications on time, attending follow up appointments and making the recommended lifestyle changes in order to take good care of your new liver.
Finding the right blood type
Any patient requiring a liver transplant understands the imp0rtance of finding a donor with a blood type that matches their own – even if a potential donor meets all the other criteria, if their blood type does not match the recipient the transplant will not go ahead. A mis-matched blood type will lead to complications and rejection of the donated organ – in the absence of an exact match it is sometimes possible to use a donation from an individual with type 0 blood.
The major, recent, developments in medicine and transplant surgery mean that the minor variations in blood tissues or the bile duct in donated liver tissue no longer pose a threat to the recipient of a liver transplant.