What quality of life can I expect after a liver transplant?
With care and a lifetime of immunosupressants, liver transplant patients can lead a high quality life. Watch this video featuring liver transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Brown to learn which precautions liver transplant patients should take.
We obviously don't want our patients to drink alcohol, because alcohol can, one, damage the new liver,
as well as interact with the immune-suppressant medications and cause a problem. [MUSIC PLAYING]
Our goal in liver transplantation is to return patients to a completely normal life. Though they have to take medications and get follow-up,
I tell my patients just to live their life with a little extra care. But patients grow up, they get married, they have children,
they watch their grandchildren grow up, and should be able to return to a normal quality
and, hopefully, quantity of life. Because the liver is a foreign organ, patients need to be on immunosuppressive medications
for life. In the beginning, it seems like all they do. They take 10 different pills three and four times a day.
Over time, we are able to wean these medications down to one or two pills that they take once or twice a day.
However, patients do need to take immunosuppressive medications for life. And both the risk of rejection as well as
the complications of immunosuppression can impair long-term survival. So though we tell our patients that somewhere between 85%
and 90% will be alive at one year and somewhere around 85% to 90% of them will be alive at five years, the problems
of immunosuppression-recurrent diseases like hepatitis C and the other things that can impair their life
are still issues. And so patients need ongoing medical care as much more close than age-matched people who
haven't had liver transplants. After a transplant, most of their prior lifestyle can be resumed.
We do expect a few different changes. First, they have to worry about infection.
We don't like patients changing the cat litter box or doing anything that would put them at risk for getting
an animal-borne infection. Some programs restrict raw foods and other foods.
I am much more liberal than most in that regard. I don't think that there's so much risk from most foods
that you can eat. We obviously don't want our patients to drink alcohol, because alcohol can, one, damage the new liver,
as well as interact with the immune-suppressant medications and cause a problem.
So as I said earlier, I expect my patients to live their life just with a little extra care over what
they would do normally. [AUDIO LOGO]
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