What Is the Survival Rate Following a Liver Transplant?


Quick Answer

The five-year survival rate of liver transplant recipients is 72 percent, according to Mayo Clinic. This means that 72 out of 100 recipients live at least five years. People who receive a liver from a living donor have a five-year survival rate of 78 percent.

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Full Answer

A liver transplant is a surgical procedure for people with end-stage liver failure, explains Mayo Clinic. Common causes of liver failure include liver cirrhosis, biliary duct atresia, early-stage liver cancer, hemochromatosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and Wilson’s disease. Most donated livers are from deceased donors, and most transplants are performed on critically ill patients.

A liver transplant involves the replacement of a diseased liver with a healthy donor liver, explains Mayo Clinic. During the procedure, the transplant surgeon makes a large incision in the abdomen and identifies the liver. The blood supply and bile ducts of the liver are detached, and the organ is removed. The surgeon places the healthy donor liver in the place of the old one and reattaches the blood supply and bile ducts. The incision is closed with stitches and staples, and the patient is moved to the recovery room.

The risks of the procedure include bile-duct complications, bleeding, blood-clots, infection, mental status changes, and failure or rejection of the new liver, states Mayo Clinic. After the surgery, patients receive life-long therapy with anti-rejection drugs. These medications are associated with bone thinning, diabetes, headaches, hypertension and high cholesterol.

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