As per a Continuous Medical Education (CME) seminar hosted by an eminent liver hospital in Delhi, it was revealed that the past ten years saw a decline in breast cancer and heart ailments and a steep rise in liver diseases (double, to be precise). In fact, it was stated that almost two lakh people succumb to liver diseases every year.

Liver being one of the most vital organs, playing the crucial role of getting rid of toxic wastes and processing and dispensing nutrients, has been observed to be one of the most affected organs in this date. To add to the woes, it’s often too late in diagnosing the disease, that too, in a whooping 90% of cases!

The prime reasons behind liver ailments are excessive alcohol and oily food intake, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B and the symptoms include continuous lethargy and feeling of tiredness, lack of sleep and swollen feet, in the primary stages. The advanced stages show jaundice, yellow eyes, blood vomiting and presence of water in the stomach, leading to semi-coma and liver cancer in extreme conditions. This is where liver transplants come as a last resort to save the individual’s life.

Even though liver cancer treatment in India has advanced, doctors say that the biggest challenge is to get a donor. Apollo Hospital, Delhi, one of India’s premier hospitals, states that liver transplants could have been easier if cadaveric donations were looked at in a more practical way. Getting family members to donate organs of a brain-dead person is very difficult, even after prolonged counseling. As compared to other countries around the world, India has the lowest percentage of cadaveric donors.

For a demand of liver donors that clocks to 25,000 annually, the many that do get treated, have mostly live donors who donate. Having said that a healthy donor’s body has the potential to regenerate the organ, live donors have been the most common process of liver transplants, the catch being that live donors should fulfill conditions such as:

  1. They need to be family members
  2. Should be between 18-55 years of age
  3. Should have identical blood group as that of the patient

Among the hundreds of liver transplants that are performed by top hospitals across the sub-continent, doctors say that 95% are successful if they get a donor in time and take precautions such as avoiding fatty foods and indulging in a walk daily.

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