About 75 percent of liver-transplant recipients are alive five years after the procedure, the American Liver Foundation reports. However, 78 percent of people who receive transplants from live donors reach the fifth-year anniversary because these patients are typically on waiting lists for shorter periods, states Mayo Clinic.
Most livers are taken from non-living donors with healthy organs, ALF says. If the donor is living, only a piece of the liver is transplanted. Within weeks, this section grows to the necessary size inside the recipient. Over 6,000 liver transplants are conducted annually in the United States, as of 2015.
Patients need transplants when their livers are failing, reports ALF. This is typically caused by diseases such as cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis B and C, liver cancer and alcoholic liver disease. Physicians refer patients to transplant centers where their physical and mental heath states are assessed. A patient's financial state, and family and friend support are also taken into account.
Referred patients who are judged to be good candidates are put on the transplant waiting list. Those who are the most ill head the list, ALF explains. Wait time among patients differs significantly because blood type, body size, stage of liver disease, general health and liver availability are considered. In the United States, potential recipients far outnumber donors, as of 2015.