What are the Complications of a Liver Transplant in India?

What are the Complications of a Liver Transplant in India?

30 August 2022

Our body depends on the liver for various biological functions like protein synthesis and detoxification. When the liver becomes incapable of performing its functions, harmful waste accumulates in the body. A liver transplant in India becomes necessary when no other treatment works for healing the organ. 

The five-year survival rate after a liver transplant surgery is 75%. The surgery can be successful for patients with acute and chronic liver failure. But liver transplant surgery is also associated with various immediate and long-term complications. 

Immediate Complications

The immediate complications that can occur after a liver transplant are as follows:

  • Medical Complications

Patients might start facing complications with gradual improvement of the organ’s activities. Medical complications common after the surgery include kidney issues, hemodynamic alterations, and neurological and respiratory problems. In that case, the patient might have to stay in the ICU for a long time due to increased mortality risks. 

  • Rejection

The immune system might reject the newly transplanted liver if the patient is not given anti-rejection drugs. It occurs as the immune system can’t distinguish between unwanted viruses and the transplanted liver. Therefore, anti-rejection drugs are mandatory for anyone undergoing liver transplant surgery.

  • Infection

Like all other surgeries, a liver transplant can also lead to infections. Anti-rejection drugs suppress the immune system. Their primary purpose is to stop the immune system from rejecting the transplanted liver. 

But the suppressed immune system also fails to fight infections. Doctors usually prescribe medicines as infections occur. But with time, the risk reduces considerably. 

  • Blood Clotting

Arterial complications are common after a liver transplant surgery. A high chance of thrombosis or blood clotting of the hepatic artery is present after liver transplantation. The hepatic artery is responsible for supplying blood to the liver. 

  • Liver Graft Dysfunction

Graft dysfunction at an early stage after liver transplantation can occur due to issues with the graft itself. It might include liver rejection, malfunction, or non-specific cholestatic syndrome. Complications might also occur due to surgical techniques, including poor drainage of the suprahepatic veins. Some other causes of graft dysfunction include liver toxicity related to drugs and infections. 

Long-Term Complications

The long-term complications associated with liver transplants in India are as follows:

  • Renal Failure

Due to the usage of calcineurin inhibitors, chronic renal failure is quite common after transplantation. The prevalence of renal failure depends on the method for assessing it and the criteria used for defining it. 

  • Chronic Rejection

Chronic rejection usually does not occur six months after undergoing surgery. The reason behind the late rejection isn’t distinct. However, there’s a high chance of the body rejecting the transplanted liver after months of the surgery. 

  • Bone Complications

Osteopenia is a condition due to which your bones become weaker. People with advanced chronic liver infections can suffer from osteopenia. Several liver transplant patients have atraumatic bone fractures post-surgery. The common locations of fractures include the ribs and the vertebrae.

  • Diabetes Mellitus 

Liver transplant patients might develop diabetes mellitus after the surgery. It depends on the immunosuppressive drugs, and the duration passed after the surgery.

  • Arterial Hypertension

Post-surgical arterial hypertension is common in liver transplant patients. The risk of arterial hypertension is high during the first few months after the surgery. The risk declines as the dosage for immunosuppressive drugs are reduced. 

  • Obesity 

Within one year of surgery, there’s a high prevalence of obesity risks. Weight gain is one of the most common long-term complications in patients. 

Wrapping up

Liver transplantation has become increasingly popular among patients with end-stage liver failure. The surgery is complicated and involves removing an infected liver and replacing it with a new one. During the early days, liver transplant surgery had a high mortality rate.

Due to medical, surgical, and technological advancements, the survival rate after liver transplantation has increased. Several people lead healthy lives after undergoing liver transplantation. However, the surgery is associated with various complications despite massive advancements.

Undergoing liver transplantation at the best hospital is necessary to minimize the risk of complications. The best hospital will have world-class facilities to offer high-quality patient care. The liver transplant doctors at top liver transplant hospitals in India will provide adequate care even after surgery.

Patients have to stay at the hospital for at least three weeks after the surgery. It enables doctors to determine the success of the surgery. Moreover, doctors can create a home care plan after your surgery. 

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