Transplant hepatology is a specialty that studies and treats advanced liver diseases that require liver transplants. Transplant hepatologists evaluate liver transplant candidates and provide post-transplant care, including managing complications that hinder liver recovery and function. While transplant hepatologists do not perform transplant surgery, they help ensure that a liver transplant is successful by tending to various aspects of the entire transplant process.
Some conditions which a transplant hepatologist may treat include:
Prior to a patient's liver transplantation, transplant hepatologists prescribe treatments to manage the symptoms of the patient's liver condition. For fluid retention resulting from a malfunctioning liver, transplant hepatologists may provide special diet plans, drainage of excess fluid through a needle, and diuretic medications. Other pre-transplant symptoms a transplant hepatologist may address include gastrointestinal bleeding or cognitive malfunction caused by a damaged liver, known as hepatic encephalopathy.
Liver transplants are either partial or full replacements for a patient's diseased liver. Each transplant carries a risk of the receiving patient being vulnerable to infection and other complications. If a donated liver is rejected, a patient may need a second liver transplant, or the patient's condition will progressively worsen. Transplant hematologists can mitigate and treat disorders that arise after a transplant, such as:
Transplant hepatologists may collaborate with hepatologists, organ transplant surgeons, endocrinologists, and other specialists to assist patients through the liver transplantation process.