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Life After a Liver Transplant

By December 28, 2019 April 17th, 2020 No Comments

Life after a Liver Transplant

In the entire journey of a liver transplant, there are a lot of things to be done and taken care of even after the surgery. In fact, the most important part starts post-surgery as that’s where the suitability of the transplanted liver and how the body of the patient responds to the implanted liver comes into the picture.

the post-surgery care that needs to be taken like checkups, diet, exercise and recovery.

Graft rejection

Although liver transplant option is available for patients with end-stage liver disease, there is a serious threat of acute graft rejection. Although the recent advancement in immunosuppressants acute graft rejection still remains a concern which affects 20-40% of liver transplant patients. In most cases, the rejection happens in the first month after Liver transplant, but it has nothing to do with long term graft success. In fact, the rejection that happens between 3-6 months are actually associated with poor graft survival. The risk of graft rejection could be due to multiple reasons like younger recipient age, HLA-DR mismatch, longer cold ischemic time, and older donor age.

What are Immunosuppressants?

Immunosuppressants are the drugs that are given to patients who had an organ transplant. The patient who gets an organ transplant has a very high risk of his/her own immune system attacking the new organ as it sees it as a foreign object. This could lead to damage to the transplanted organ and the organ then should be removed. To counter this the immune suppressants weaken the patient’s immune system which reduces the risk of attack on the transplanted organ. However, as the immunosuppressants weaken the immune system the patient is very likely to catch an infection. In case of infection, the patient should immediately contact the doctor.

The dosage of immunosuppressants is entirely dependent on the patient’s condition and the doctor would be the right person to judge the amount of dosage. Also after a certain period of time, the dosage can also be reduced by the doctor if he/she feels the body has accepted the transplanted organ. But there is a minimum dosage of immunosuppressants that the patient has to take for his/her entire life.

Just like any drugs immunosuppressants too have some side effects. The most common is infection due to a weak immune system. Also, some drugs also carry serious side effects of birth defect, hence if you are pregnant or are planning for one, you should consult the doctor first in order to find a viable solution. The dosage of immunosuppressants is of utmost importance and if you miss even a single dose of the medicine, you should immediately contact the doctor.

Regular check-ups and precautions

In the liver transplants procedure the critical stage if post-transplant as there is a chance of the body rejecting the new organ or other similar post-transplant complications. About 70% of the transplanted patients live for 5 years while the remaining 30% live less than 5 years.  Hence the doctor will be monitoring the liver functioning closely and check for any complication and address the same as soon as possible.

Diet

Post-operation following the right diet is very important in order to recover fast. Rubi Hall’s nutritionist would assist and answer all the queries and doubts about the diet. The diet plan that is generally suggested by nutritionists has low amounts of salt, sugar, cholesterol, and fat.

  • The most important thing that needs to strictly followed by the patient is to avoid alcohol directly or indirectly ( food preparation ). the dietician’s general advice on diet include
  • Consumption of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day
  • Keeping the body hydrated throughout the day with optimum intake of water
  • Acidic fruits like orange, grape or grapefruit juice, pomegranates should be avoided as they could have an adverse effect on a group of immunosuppression medications
  • Adequate intake of fibers in everyday diet
  • Consumption of only lean meat, poultry and fish
  • Consumption of whole-grain foods as opposed to processed ones
  • Consumption of low-fat milk and dairy products to maintain the proper calcium and phosphorus

Exercise

Exercise and physical activity is again a very important part of the recovery process post-liver transplant. At Ruby Hall, our expert physiotherapist will work out a customized exercise plan for you that you can do at home. Also, post-discharge from the hospital the patient can start with walking everyday and then depending on the progress of other light activities like cycling, swimming can be done. But it is important to first consult with the transplant team before taking up any new physical activity or exercise.

Return to normal activities

Post-transplant procedure generally takes atleast 6 months to fully recover from the surgery to return to doing all the normal activities. The general process of liver transplant and surgery can be overwhelming and the fear of transplant rejections can be stressful. Hence it is advised that the family and closed ones should support to help the patient cope with it.

Also, it is very important to be realistic with oneself as the patient definitely cannot do all the normal activities he/she used to do before the surgery. Also, it is very important to ask any and every doubt you have about food, medication, exercise with the transplant team in order to avoid any unnecessary complications.

Ruby Hall Clinic- A Globally recognized hospital for liver transplant and care
Ruby Hall Clinic is a globally recognized hospitalbrand that offers all forms of organ transplantsas well as post-transplant care under one roof – including liver transplant. Even the most complex cases which are generally not taken due to factors like age, body mass index or disease severity, Ourteam of highly skilled doctorscan evaluate and treat these patients as well. We provide analysis and transplants for both children as well as adults not only in India but abroad as well.

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