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Indications for Liver Transplant

A liver transplant may be considered as a treatment option for people with advanced or end-stage liver disease, who have deteriorating liver function and quality of life, and who are unable to benefit from other medical and surgical treatments.

Many different diseases can harm the liver. Some of these diseases are "acute," working quickly in just days or weeks, while others are "chronic" and take years to do damage. The liver has an amazing ability to regenerate, or make new liver tissue. However, extensive damage to liver cells - from acute or chronic illness or injury - can lead to scarring, which can prevent tissue regeneration.

Cirrhosis occurs because of chronic liver damage. Cirrhosis causes broad bands of scarring tissue to develop, and surround, regenerating liver tissue. The progressive scarring destroys liver cell function. Cirrhosis also impairs blood flow to the liver, so that gradually the liver loses its ability to clean the body of toxins, manufacture proteins and clotting substances, and process nutrients and hormones. Scar tissue can also put pressure on the liver's portal veins, leading to portal hypertension, or high blood pressure, within the liver. A serious condition, portal hypertension may cause fluid to collect throughout the body, affect the kidney and other organs, and lead to intestinal bleeding.

Contact Information

Transplant Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building, 7th Floor
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-9700