Deceased Donor Liver Transplant
In deceased donor liver transplants, the donor are usually a victim of an accident or head injury or brain haemorrhage. Their heart is still beating, but their brain has stopped working so they’re considered legally dead. The donor is usually in an intensive-care unit. After consent from relatives, retrieval procedure is performed in operation theatre. After removal from the donor (a process called liver retrieval), the liver can safely preserve outside the body in special preservation solutions. Allocation of such organs is strictly according to blood group, time on waiting list and urgency of transplant.
What Does a Deceased Donor Liver Transplant Involve?
Deceased donor livers come from people who have died suddenly, usually from an accident or bleed into the brain. These individuals are usually between one and 70 years of age and have been relatively healthy before their death. These people have previously expressed to their families a willingness to donate their organs, or their families have made the decision to donate their 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. What’s more, all deceased donor organs are tested extensively to help ensure that they don’t pose a health threat to the recipient.
As soon as a deceased donor is declared brain-dead, the liver is removed and placed in cold, sterile fluid similar to fluid in body cells. It is then stored in the ice box. The harvested liver needs to be transplanted preferably within 6 to 8 hours – which is why recipients are often called to the hospital in the middle of the night or at short notice.
Anyone can be a donor. When a patient is declared brain dead and his family decides on to donate the organs for transplantation, the liver is made available for transplantation.