Alcoholics and Liver Transplant

Alcoholics and Liver Transplant

A liver transplant is one of the most complicated surgical procedures. Most patients undergoing liver transplant surgery have irreversible liver cirrhosis due to several years of alcohol consumption. Hence, liver transplant surgery has always been a concern for patients who consume alcohol in heavy amounts.

Doctors are apprehensive about liver transplants in alcoholics due to the presumption that their condition will relapse due to heavy drinking that may damage the transplanted liver and cause rejection.
The topic has been the subject of research for many years. After research, the data shows that if the alcoholics are selected with care, they can survive the complicated liver transplant surgery, recover well, and return to their everyday life without complications.

Moreover, it is unethical for the medical fraternity to turn down patients suffering from any disease or conditions that can be treated partly or wholly. On these grounds, several alcoholics undergo a liver transplant in Delhi.

Limitations of liver transplant

Liver transplant is counted among the most traumatic and complicated procedures. Moreover, a liver transplant in Delhi is quite a costly procedure.

It takes around 4 to 5 weeks of hospital time for the patient to recover completely. The patients take immunosuppressive medicines during this time to minimize the chances of rejection of the new liver.

After discharge from the hospital, the patients have to visit the doctor once a week for six months for follow-up and further management until their condition is entirely stable. The transplant can be touted as successful.
Apart from the fact that a liver transplant is a costly procedure, there are other constraints too. It is always a challenge for the doctors to find a suitable donor for a liver transplant for alcoholics and non-alcoholics as scarcity of donors is always a big problem.
The team of specialists of liver transplants in Delhi decides the patients fit for receiving a transplant. Due to the scarcity of donors, it is a big responsibility for the doctors to figure out whether the recipient stands a good chance of surviving the transplant or not. Moreover, they would also gauge whether the recipient would lead a healthy and productive life after the transplant.
The procedure for selecting the right candidate involves medical judgment of the patient's physical and mental health, plus community and social concerns.

Are alcoholics eligible for liver transplants?

There have been times when alcoholics were considered unfit recipients for a liver transplant surgery due to the presumptions of a high risk of relapse due to heavy drinking after the surgical procedure. Consuming alcohol after liver transplant may cause non-compliance with the immunosuppressive therapy and other post-transplant management modalities leading to rejection of the new liver.
Also, drinking after a transplant can damage the new liver, and the precious organ goes in vain, which could be used to save the life of another person requiring a transplant. Also, heavy drinkers who have terminal liver disease are susceptible to have damaged other body organs too, jeopardizing recovery.

Owing to the scarcity of donors, wasting a precious organ on a recipient with fewer chances of survival always puts doctors in a fix. But the doctors cannot refuse a patient based on presumptions.

Sahil Sharma

Sahil Sharma

Medical Expert


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