• Reasons for Liver Transplantation

    The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body. It performs over 500 functions and produces over 1,000 enzymes and other proteins that are essential for good health. You cannot live without your liver. When your liver has failed and transplantation is necessary, a donated liver may come from one of two sources:

    About the Liver 

    The liver is located in the right upper abdomen, just below the diaphragm. Some of its most important tasks include:

    • Converting nutrients from food into important enzymes, minerals, vitamins, hormones, and other molecules that the body needs to function properly
    • Storing molecules such as glycogen (a form of stored energy for cells), vitamins, and minerals until needed for other organs
    • Breaking down harmful substances, such as alcohol and poisons, into less harmful ones
    • Producing bile, a fluid that helps the body digest fats and nutrients

    The liver is the only internal organ capable of full regeneration. As little as 25% of a liver can regrow into a full liver. This regenerative property is the essence of live donor liver transplantation, a procedure in which a portion of a donor’s liver is transplanted into a recipient. Both livers will grow in size and return to normal function in a matter of weeks. 

    Liver Diseases that Lead to Liver Transplantation 

    A number of diseases can impair or destroy liver function to the point that a liver transplant is necessary. They include:

    • Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis, B, C, and D), which causes inflammation and chronic damage to the liver
    • Alcoholic liver disease
    • Acute liver failure, usually from a virus or from ingesting a poisonous substance
    • Autoimmune hepatitis, in which the body’s immune system malfunctions and destroys liver tissue
    • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), related disease in which fat deposits accumulate in the liver
    • Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), progressive diseases that cause liver failure
    • Hepatic (liver) tumors
    • Metabolic and genetic disorders, which are inherited and include diseases such as alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson's disease, and polycystic liver disease 
     
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