Life after Liver Transplant
Soon after the surgery when patients are ready to leave the hospital, they are given detailed instructions on the Dos and Don’ts for full recovery. Full recovery can take up to 6 months following which, they can resume their normal lives and get involved in daily chores. Most of the patients live a productive life after the operation however, lifelong medications and a disciplined lifestyle is a ‘must’ for the first three years. Following are some general precautions, which every transplant patient should know and follow:
Regular contact with your transplant team: Remember, it is important to strictly abide by the follow-up schedule given by your doctor. Patient and his/her family should keep all the contact numbers and mail IDs handy. All the investigations should be performed as per schedule provided by the transplant team. Maintain a record of investigations and changes prescribed by the team. Proper recording helps your transplant physician interpret the results precisely.
Compliance with medication: Patients should strictly take the prescribed medications after liver transplant. Parents or guardians should take care of the medication for children. Immunosuppressive medications have to be taken lifetime because the survival of new liver depends upon these medications.
Know your medications: It is always better to know your medications. Read or learn about the effects, side effects and interaction of these drugs with other medication. Dose of these drugs has to be changed depending upon the liver function tests and side effect profile.
Prevent Infections: It is important to take adequate measures to prevent any kind of infections:
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid going to crowded places.
- Do not drink water from lakes and rivers
- Do not consume Raw vegetables and meat
- Avoid contact with infected people
- Intake of clean and healthy food
- In case of fever or any other sign of infection, immediately contact local physician first, followed by your transplant team
- Always keep your body covered, use mosquito repellants to prevent vector born diseases like Malaria, dengue or chikungunya.
- Keep your surroundings clean and healthy
- Avoid Pets
- Review your occupation with your transplant team before joining back the job as many occupational hazards can be prevented by just modifying the job responsibilities
Prevention of cancers after liver transplant: Transplant increases the risk of cancers for many reasons, some of these cancers can be prevented by following the instructions:
- Keep your body covered all the time and apply good sunscreen lotion to avoid any direct contact with UV rays of the sun. UV rays increase the incidence of skin cancers especially after transplant by 10-100 folds.
- Smoking and alcohol intake are strictly prohibited as these carcinogens increase the incidence of many cancers mainly of aero digestive tract by many folds. These should be regarded as poisons.
- Immunosuppressive medications increase the risk of blood cancers few years after LTP. So it is very important to minimize the dose of these drugs and here comes the role of regular investigations and transplant team. Regular investigations would help your LTP physician to modulate the dose of these drugs
Other General precautions:
- Avoid pregnancy until 1 year after transplant, as this poses risk to both mother and child. Pregnancy should be properly planned in consultations with obstetrician and transplant physician.
- Sexual intercourse is allowed as soon as the patient feels comfortable and physically fit.
- Regular walk for 45-60min a day helps in keeping the body and mind healthy
- Avoid taking sweets and oily food as these tend to increase the weight and make diabetes uncontrollable after transplant. It is very important to maintain Ideal body weight is very important to be maintained as this would decrease the risk of CVA, Heart attack, fatty liver and other problems.