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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Liver Transplantation - Complications

Rejection of the transplanted liver:
The human body has the remarkable power of differentiating the self from the non-self. Recognizing 'non-self' is essential for the body's self defense mechanism and this is what immunity is about. The natural immune system protects us from all minor and major infections. In case of transplants drugs have to be given to suppress this natural tendency to fight the foreign tissue. Sometimes despite the drugs the immune system prevails and identifies the liver as non-self, it starts reacting against it aggressively and destroys it. This is called rejection. It can happen immediately after the surgery or a few days, months or even several years after the surgery. The rejection is diagnosed by blood tests and by a biopsy and can usually be controlled by additional medications or by increasing the dosage of medicines called immunosuppresants The immunosuppressants drugs have to be taken throughout the lifetime of the patient to prevent rejection.

Increased chances of infection:
The immune system of a patient who is receiving immunosuppressants is compromised, paving way for an increased susceptibility to infections. The incidence of these infections can be prevented if appropriate care is taken such as wearing masks, avoiding exposure to contaminated places and so on.

There are other complications that can occur immediately after transplants surgery and this may ocassionally require a second surgery. Sometimes there maybe leakage of bile, bleeding, or chest infections. Blockage of blood vessels may also occur.

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