Published online Jun 7, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.3388
Revised: February 14, 2008
Accepted: February 21, 2008
Published online: June 7, 2008
Liver transplantation remains an effective treatment for those with end-stage disease and with intractable liver-related symptoms. The shortage of organs for transplantation has resulted in the need for rationing. A variety of approaches to selection and allocation have been developed and vary from country to country. The shortage of donors has meant that new approaches have to be adopted to make maximal use of the available organs; these include splitting grafts, use of extended criteria livers, livers from non-heart-beating donors and from living donors. Post transplantation, most patients will need life-long immunosuppression, although a small proportion can have immunosuppression successfully withdrawn. Newer immunosuppressive drugs and different strategies may allow a more targeted approach with a reduction in side-effects and so improve the patient and graft survival. For autoimmune diseases, transplantation is associated with significant improvement in the quality and length of life. Disease may recur after transplantation and may affect patient and graft survival.