People with either acute or chronic liver failure may need a liver transplant to survive.
Acute liver failure (ALF) happens suddenly. Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is the leading cause, overdose of acetaminophen.
Chronic liver failure, also called end-stage liver disease or cirrhosis, progresses over months, years, or decades. Cirrhosis is a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue until the liver cannot function adequately.
Most common reason for needing a liver transplant is cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis, alcohol abuse, autoimmune hepatitis, biliary atresia, primary biliary cirrhosis, and primary sclerosing Cholangitis, hemochromatosis (a genetic condition in which iron builds up in the liver), Wilson disease (a genetic condition in which copper builds up in the liver & nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (a disease caused by fat and inflammation in the liver).
In children, biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver failure and the need for a liver transplant. Biliary atresia is a disease in newborns in which the bile ducts are absent, damaged, or blocked. As a result, toxic bile builds up in the liver, resulting in cirrhosis.
Other reasons for liver transplantation include cancers originating in the liver.
Not all patients need liver transplantation as soon as they are diagnosed to have cirrhosis. This condition is known as “compensated cirrhosis, that means your liver is damaged but still liver is able to do needful functions in body. These patients are advised to meet regularly to expert to watch the ongoing function of liver. Initially cirrhosis is treated with medicines.
Liver transplantation is indicated when person develops the complications due to cirrhosis, this is known as “Decompensated Cirrhosis. Cirrhosis induced complications are vomiting of blood (hematemesis), blood in stool (melana), accumulation of water in tummy (ascites), yellow colouration of eye, skin (jaundice) & abnormal behaviour (encephalopathy). These patients required sadmission for treatment of these complications and advised to consult liver transplant team for assessment & counselling for future transplantation.