Hepatic transplant. Treatment at the Clínica
The Clínica is one of the two Spanish hospitals that offer liver transplants from a live adult donor.
We have carried out over 400 hepatic transplants, over 20 of which were from a live donor.
Our survival rate for transplant patients after one year is over 90% and for five years 82%, this is 10% above the national average, according to the Spanish Liver Transplant Registry.
In the past few years, the new protocol for transplant operations has meant that it is safer and results in fewer complications. The post operation period for patients has reduced considerably and, one or two days after the operation, they are already on a hospital ward.
In addition, the average hospital stay after a transplant has also reduced considerably, from one month, or one and a half months to less than 10 days.
A hepatic transplant is the only therapeutic treatment for a variety of serious diseases and it is fundamentally used to treat four groups of diseases: acute liver failure, cirrhosis of the liver, liver tumours and metabolic diseases in which the liver is producing an anomalous substance which is responsible for a disease in another organ.
In general, a liver transplant is suggested when the liver disease gives the patient a lower life expectancy than that of the transplant.
As for the parameters applied to liver tumours by the specialists at the Clínica, they recommend a transplant for patients with up to a 6cm nodule or two or three nodules up to 5cm. This criterion is greater than that which is traditionally employed.
A liver transplant should not be performed when the patient has symptoms that are not due to the liver disease or when they have other diseases that have a bad prognosis or no treatment. There are also a few relative contraindications: old age, diabetes and renal failure that increase the risk when undergoing a transplant.
In any case, to know if there is a possibility of a transplant for you, the specialist who does the complete assessment must decides if it would be possible or not.
At the Clínica Universidad de Navarra the survival rate after five years is 85%.
A deceased organ donor is the salvation for patients with terminal liver diseases. It is the only therapeutic treatment for chronic and irreversible liver diseases.
From the beginning, the most common liver transplants are carried out with organs from a deceased organ donor, although this trend could change with transplants between living people.
The surgical technique for a liver transplant has rapidly improved. Currently, they carry out the entire transplant in 4 or 5 hours, compared to the 8 to 9 hours it took previously. Additionally, there is now less need for transfusions and the recipients have a better recovery from the transplant.
Likewise, the anaesthetic technique has notably improved. The recuperation of patients after the transplant is significantly quicker, in that their state after the operation is much better than before.
The Clínica is one of the three Spanish hospitals that perform between living people.
In the past few years, the increased waiting list for liver transplants has provoked more transplants to be carried out between living donors. It is a very demanding transplant that requires the full dedication of the medical team that carries it out.
It's a surgical technique that involves removing approximately half of the liver in a living donor, normally a family member, though not necessarily and they implant it in the patient. The liver's capacity to regrow means both the donor and recipient can have a long-term, normally functioning liver. The total recovering period is 6-8 weeks.
With this new surgical procedure, the Clínica has managed to increase the number of possible liver transplants from a live donor from 15% to 20%. The zone behind the donor's organ is used as a graft. So that a liver transplant between living people is viable, their blood groups must be compatible, the donor must be healthy – which is confirmed by exhaustive medical testing and anatomical requirements – Thus, the most appropriate moment for the transplant is chosen when the risk for the donor will be the closest to zero as possible.
The hospitalisation period varies from 8 to 10 days.