Liver transplantation is a surgical procedure that removes a liver that is no longer functioning properly (liver failure) and replaces it with a healthy liver of a living or dead donor – After (Post) liver transplant, patients have to overcome many challenges, especially facing possible complications and returning to normal life as soon as possible. Failure to properly observe the condition after the transplant and strengthen the care of the surgical site can cause harm to the transplant organs and the patient’s health. So, what should patients and their families do after having liver transplant?
Follow Medical Advice to Avoid Complications – Liver Transplant
After liver transplantation, the body’s immune system treats transplanted organs as a foreign object and reacts to them. This is the cause of post-transplantation complications. The Post- Liver Transplant complications can be seen by these symptoms:
The risk of bleeding at the anamalgation is minimal, where the donor’s blood vessels are stitched together with the recipient’s blood vessels.
Hepatic artery embolism: if blood clots are present in the liver artery, it can lead to liver dysfunction.
- Bile Leakage
A link between the transplanted liver and the bile duct or intestine may occur, leading to the discharge of bile into the abdominal cavity.
The body’s immune cells treat the transplanted liver as a foreign object and attacks it.
- Infection after Liver Transplant
After a liver transplant surgery, the patient’s immune system is suppressed by immunosuppressive drugs, and therefore, there is a high risk of infection, especially if the patient does not properly protect the surgical area.
- Hepatitis Recurrence
Hepatitis may relapse after liver transplantation, especially hepatitis B or C virus.
To reduce the risk of these complications, the patient must follow the prescription of a doctor and return to the hospital regularly. In addition, contact your physician immediately as soon as any signs of complications occur.
Patients Must Adjust Their Expectations – Post Liver Transplant
Before choosing a transplant, the attending physician may have discussed the procedure with the patient and its subsequent effects. Therefore, the patient must be psychologically prepared for what may happen after surgery:
After surgery, you may need to be hospitalized for several days. For example, liver transplant surgery, you may need to be hospitalized for about 5 to 10 days. During hospitalization, the patient will be closely monitored to ensure proper reading on the patient’s vital signs and symptoms of complications. Various tests will be conducted to confirm that the transplant liver is functioning properly. Once in stable condition, the patient can be discharged from hospital or transferred to the transplant recovery area for continuous treatment.
Patients are still required to return home regularly. Initial tests are more intensive, but the number of tests decreases over time.
In the following days, patients must continue to take immunosuppressive drugs to avoid the immune system from attacking the transplanted liver. These drugs have side effects, including hypertension, excessive hair growth or loss, hand fibrillation, mood swings, weight gain, bone loss, and diabetes ( Diabetes), etc. This means that the immune system will be weakened and the risk of infection is higher. Fortunately, there are still other drugs that reduce the risk of complications after transplantation.
Activities After Having Liver Transplant
After receiving liver transplantat and returning from the hospital, patients must protect the surgical site from infection and other complications. In order to return to a normal and active life, patients must bear in mind the following limitations.
- For the first 6 weeks after the procedure, you should not carry more than 2 kilograms of weight; for the first 3 months after the procedure, you cannot carry more than 9 kilograms of weight.
- Avoid activities that can pull the abdominal muscles (around the surgical site) for 3 months, such as mopping the floor or using a vacuum cleaner.
- For at least 6 months after surgery, a shower is better than a bathtub.
- Do not run or jogging on hard roads such as cement or asphalt for 6 months after surgery.
- Do not engage in vigorous activities such as horseback riding or motorbike for one year after surgery.
- Do not drive for 1 month after transplant surgery or after taking painkillers.
- Limit the amount of fat and sodium (salt) in the diet.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Three months after the procedure, most patients have fully recovered, returned to work and enjoyed an active life. The more you pay attention to your physical condition, the sooner you will be able to recover. Don’t forget to be positive thinking and optimistic. You may not be able to feel the effect of maintaining proper self-care, but patience will be a great reward for patients.