End Stage Liver Disease (ESLD)

End stage liver disease (ESLD) is an irreversible condition that leads to the imminent complete failure of the liver. It is often a consequence of chronic liver diseases, and is one of the most extended causes of death in the western hemisphere.

Causes Of End Stage Liver Disease

End stage liver disease may be the final stage of many liver diseases. Cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, genetic disorders, metastasic cancer in the liver, autoimmune disorders, obesity and toxins and drugs can be factors that cause end stage liver disease and liver failure.

Alcohol abuse is the major cause of ESLD in the USA and most western countries. Like viral, it can lead to scarring and inflammation of the liver, which is known as cirrhosis.

Diagnosis Of End Stage Liver Disease

When a chronic condition that may lead to end-stage liver disease is diagnosed, treatment is applied. Eventually, however, liver failure will happen.

The diagnosis of a patient who enters the final stage of hit liver disease is made by observation of the status of the liver through imaging techniques such as CT scanning. Laboratory tests are also used to detect end stage liver disease, by observing the amount of certain enzymes and toxins present in the blood.

Life Expectancy Of End Stage Liver Disease

Patients suffering from end stage liver disease have a really low life expectancy unless liver transplantation is performed as soon as possible. However, some people may not be suitable for transplantation, and will eventually die.

Liver Transplant Process

The liver is a fascinating organ, essential to life and with the unique ability of regenerating itself from a single portion. A liver transplant is a surgical procedure that consists in the replacement of a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person. There are three types of liver transplantation methods: orthotopic transplantation, heterotopic transplantation and reduced-size transplantation.

Orthopic transplantation consists in the replacement of a whole diseased liver with a healthy liver from a cadaveric donor. When orthotopic transplantation is performed, a segment of the inferior vena cava attached to the liver is taken from the donor as well. The same parts are removed from the recipient and replaced by connecting the inferior vena cava, the hepatic artery, the portal vein and the bile ducts.

Heterotopic transplantation is a procedure consisting in the addition of a donor liver at another site, while the diseased liver is kept as well.  Heterotopic transplantation is performed when there is a good possibility that the diseased liver may recover. The new liver is put in a different place, but it has to have the same connections.

Reduced-size liver transplantation is the replacement of a whole diseased liver with a portion of a healthy liver. It is the technique of choice for infant and children liver transplants. This is possible due to the fact that the liver can be divided into eight autonomously supplied parts. This makes possible to transplant one liver into more than one recipient.

After liver transplantation has been performed, the patient will need to take immunosuppressant medication for life, to avoid organ rejection. Also, antibiotics will be administered to avoid the risk of any possible infection.

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