Deceased Donor Liver Transplantation

Traditionally the most common type of transplantation, this procedure uses a liver that becomes available when a person dies and his or her family donates the organ for transplantation.

Deceased donor livers come from people who have died suddenly, usually from an accident or bleed into the brain. After a series of tests and establishment of a diagnosis of brain death by certified professionals, some r families make the decision to donate their loved ones organs so that someone else will have a chance to live a better life.

It isn’t necessary to match the donor and recipient for age, sex or race. All donors are screened for hepatitis viruses and the HIV virus. All deceased donor organs are tested extensively to help ensure that they don’t pose a health threat to the recipient. Also, many studies – such as ABO blood type and HLA matching – are required for matching kidneys, and some test are performed to ensure that the organs are functioning properly.

As soon as a deceased donor is declared brain-dead, the liver is removed in a process of organ recovery and placed in a special preservative solution. It is then stored in ice  to keep the temperature at four degrees. The harvested liver needs to be transplanted within 12  hours of recovery – which is why recipients are often called to the hospital in the middle of the night or at short notice.

Waiting times for a deceased donor liver vary depending on the patient’s severity of illness, blood type, and overall demand. Patients have to be registered with the appropriate state body ( Zonal coordination committee of Karnataka (ZCCK)or the Kerala Network for organ sharing (KNOS)). Because the liver is able to regenerate, it is possible for a deceased donor organ to be divided, with each half transplanted into a different recipient. Sometimes called “split-liver” transplantation, this resourceful allocation of scarce donor organs enables more patients to receive transplants.