Liver, don’t fail me now

What do our livers do?  Lots!   Our liver cleans our blood, is involved with metabolism,  breaks down old red blood cells, produces factors that help our blood clot, and helps with digestion.

Why can our livers fail?  Extremely excessive alcohol use, some medications, toxins, some infections such as hepatitis, and even some genetic conditions can cause our livers to fail.  When the liver fails, patients began to have yellow skin called jaundice, swelling of their belly, bleeding problems, and can have confusion.

The first liver transplantation was performed in 1963 by Dr. Thomas Starzl.  Dr. Starzl was going to become a priest, but decided to become a doctor when his mother died of breast cancer.  The first patients who had liver transplants had a one year survival rate of only 25%.  Now the survival rate at one year is 86%.   Over 6000 liver transplants are now performed in the United States a year!

Health liver and a liver with cirrhosis:


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