Facts about liver transplants Release date November 22, 2002 American Society of Transplantation 15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite C Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 Phone: 856-439-9986 • Fax: 856-439-9982 • E-mail: [email protected] www.a-s-t.org The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Society. Getting a New Liver Facts about Liver Transplants Marwan Abouljoud Robert Brown Jr Gary Davis Robert Fontana Amy Friedman John Fung Rafik Ghobrial Gregory Gores Tarek Hassanein George Mazariegos Kim Olthoff Anthony Post Rajender Reddy Charles Rosen Phil Rosenthal Vinod Kumar Rustgi Thomas Schiano Roshan Shrestha Authors Revised December, 2006 2 Getting a New Liver Facts about Liver Transplants A liver transplant is a big step to take, but it can save your life. You will be able to take better care of your new trans- plant if you understand your illness and your treatment. You will need to reach certain goals in your recovery. It is very important that you understand what you must do to make your transplant work. You must take your medicines as told, keep your appointments, and stay in close touch with your doctors and nurses. Some facts about the liver The liver does several things: • It helps digest your food. • It clears wastes from your blood. • It makes proteins that help your blood to clot. • It stores the sugars (glycogen) that are used for energy. • It makes proteins that the body must have. • It helps use and store vitamins. • It makes chemicals that protect the body. • It breaks down many toxins and drugs. The liver also controls the way your body uses food and the way it works with your immune system. When the liver is badly damaged, it cannot grow enough new liver tissue to heal itself. Severe liver damage with scar- ring is called cirrhosis (sir o sis). Cirrhosis can lead to two problems: 1. Liver failure. This happens when the liver cannot do what it is supposed to do.