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Saudi German Hospital Cairo  >  press releases   >  Liver Transplantation

Liver Transplantation

Where is the liver located?

What are the functions of the liver?

What is liver transplantation?

The History of Liver Transplantation

Success Rates of Liver Transplantation

Why should some patients carry out liver transplantation surgeries?

Liver Transplantation in Egypt

 

Where is the liver located?

The liver is situated the upper section of the abdomen area to the right side, just below the diaphragm. It consists of a red brownish wedge with four segments that vary in their sizes and shapes. It weighs 1.5 kg with an average width of around 15 cm.

It is the body organ responsible mainly for controlling almost all the levels of various substances in the blood. It is a vital organ for the health of any being as it works on the dismissing the wastes and harmful chemicals outside the body.

The liver works on purifying all the blood coming from the stomach to reach other places of the body. This is to achieve the healthy balance of the chemical levels of the blood before reaching other organs.

Humans can factually live without a liver, but only for a short period of time that doctors estimated to be no more than a year in the best cases. However, an interesting fact about the liver is that it would grow again. This is why some people would live with only a segment of the liver if other parts were removed for medical reasons. Nevertheless, a liver transplantation surgery is necessary in some cases.

What are the functions of the liver?

Scientists were able to identify hundreds of functions of the liver. The most important among them are as follows:

  • Produce bile fluids that have a vital role in the digestive system as it removes different wastes and break down the fats to be easily digested.
  • Produce specific types of cholesterol and proteins.
  • Assist in the storage of unneeded glucose.
  • Control the levels of amino acids inside the blood.
  • Produce certain kinds of protein that have important benefits for the body.
  • Purify the blood from a huge number of poisons and drugs.
  • Participate in the prevention of blood clotting.

 

What is liver transplantation?

Liver transplantation is the process of substituting a sick liver that doesn’t function properly with another liver coming from another person. It is one of the last solutions doctors resort to in case of the failure of any other treatments or medications.

A significant challenge that faces the liver transplantation surgery is the presence of a donor who is willing to give away his liver.

Liver transplantation is a complicated procedure that lasts from 4 to more than 15 hours. This is why it has to be carried out in specialized medical centers that offer all sorts of equipment and required medical screening.

When patients suffer from severe or chronic conditions in their livers that might lead to the complete dysfunction, doctors would suggest carrying out a liver transplantation surgery. Due to the fact that it is considered a risky procedure, patients should change their habits and lifestyle after the success of the operation. However, in several cases the results are quite impressive.

 

The History of Liver Transplantation

Due to its high risks, the very first endeavors to perform a liver transplantation operation were carried out on dogs. Doctors were not sure about the results and the success rates of such a complicated medical surgery. Several scholars asserted that the first attempt of liver transplantation was carried out in Milan in 1955 on dogs.

The success of the operation encouraged doctors to perform the first attempt of liver transplantation among humans. Dr. Thomas Starzl, American doctor and medical researcher, carried out the first liver transplant operation among humans in history in 1963. However, due to intensive bleeding, the patient passed away during the operation.

Several doctors in various hospitals and medical centers carried out different attempts of human liver transplantation. Unfortunately, all of them failed due to the lack of proper medical equipment and surgical techniques. The situation remained with a considerable number of unsuccessful operations throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

More than 200 operations of liver transplantation were recorded around the world until the year 1977. However, the success rates were still quite low at the time. In the 1980s, with the great development of surgical techniques and methods, the rates considerably improved with a survival percentage of 1 to 5 years among 64% to 73%.

It was in 1990 when Dr Starzl was able to use tacrolimus in liver transplantation successfully. This is in addition to the efforts of Sir Roy Calne who was able to introduce cyclosporine in liver transplantation that significantly improved the results achieved. During this period, liver transplantation became a common medical procedure in many hospitals in various regions in the world.

 

Success Rates of Liver Transplantation

The success rates of liver transplantation surgeries vary according to many factors including the surgical techniques used, the proper follow-up, the age of the patients, their overall health conditions.

Statistics and studies show that around 90% of the patients who undergo liver transplantation surgeries survive at least for a year afterwards. However, the success rate decreases to reach less than 75% in the case of the patients who live for more than 5 years.

The diseases the patient originally suffered from might return or new illnesses might appear. Proper follow-up should be carried out periodically to ensure the highest levels of success and the best possible health conditions for the patients.

 

Why should some patients carry out liver transplantation surgeries?

Liver transplantation comes as the last stage in the journey of the cure of many liver diseases. In other simpler words, it is a procedure that would save the life of a patient that would otherwise pass away due to his or her severe liver illness.  It is also a solution for some chronic liver diseases like Cirrhosis.

 

Liver Transplantation in Egypt

Despite that Egypt achieved considerable successes in combating virus C; there is still a large number of patients who are need of liver transplantation in the country due to the occurrence of fibrosis, ascites, varicose veins or liver cancer.

The first liver transplantation surgery that was carried out in Egypt was more 16 years ago. Egyptian doctors have gained experience dealing with more than 500 cases with success rates that reach around 90% which is among the highest in the world.

Egypt nowadays witnesses a significant evolution in the liver transplantation surgeries. Among the most common reasons to carry out such a dangerous medical procedure is when the patient suffers from advanced stages of Virus C infection. With the great achievements accomplished in curing Virus C in Egypt, the success rates of liver transplantation largely increased.

More than 15 medical centers and hospitals which operate in Egypt today would provide liver transplantation operations with the highest standards of quality and success rates. This is why many patients from the Arab World and Africa resort to Egypt to carry out such medical procedures. Many Egyptian doctors also have the experiences and skills required to carry out such a complicated surgery.

There is a strong tendency of the Egyptian government to begin transplanting organs of people who die with a healthy liver to patients who suffer from liver diseases especially Virus C. Many surgeries take place as well by the donation of a liver or part of it. Doctors carry out comprehensive studies and medical check-ups for donors before and after the operation to ensure they enjoy a great health and grantee the surgery didn’t have a negative impact on their health.

It is expected that Egypt would witness an increase in the number of the liver transplantation operations and a progress in the success rates as well. Egypt started being one of the most leading countries in the Middle East in liver transplantation operations.

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