What is an auxiliary liver transplantation?

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Auxiliary liver transplantation entails attaching a portion of a healthy donor's liver to a portion of a recipient's diseased liver. The donor liver remains intact until the native organ recovers, at which point the diseased liver may be removed. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was one of the first institutions to perform this procedure, which now accounts for a substantial proportion of liver transplants in children today.

The Center now uses this technique in an innovative way to treat patients with acute liver failure, in order to allow the patient's own liver to recover. Whereas liver transplantation requires patients to take immunosuppressant medications for the remainder of their lives, auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation (APOLT) does not. The procedure entails attaching part of a donor liver to the failing liver in the recipient, where it supports the patient, clears toxins, and prevents brain injury during recovery. After the patient's native liver recovers, the donor liver withers in most patients, and the majority of patients are able to withdraw from immunosuppressant medications.

APOLT is particularly suited to children because the regenerative capacity of their livers is optimal. This technique may also be applied in young adults.

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