National Institutes of Health
- The primary NIH organization for research on Liver Transplantation is the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. You cannot live without a liver that works. If your liver fails, your doctor may put you on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Doctors do liver transplants when other treatment cannot keep a damaged liver working.
During a liver transplantation, the surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy one. Most transplant livers come from a donor who has died. Sometimes there is a living donor. This is when a healthy person donates part of his or her liver for a specific patient.
The most common reason for a transplant in adults is cirrhosis. This is scarring of the liver, caused by injury or long-term disease. The most common reason in children is biliary atresia, a disease of the bile ducts.
If you have a transplant, you must take drugs the rest of your life to help keep your body from rejecting the new liver.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)