Health Watch - Donation and Transplants: Saving Livers

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the importance of organ, tissue and blood donation. Because there’s a serious shortage of donated organs, doctors need to find ways other than transplants to help patients whose organs are failing. For about half of all patients with acute liver failure, a transplant was the only hope before a recent discovery.

About half of all cases of liver failure are caused by acetaminophen poisoning, and there’s an antidote for that. For other causes of liver failure, including hepatitis and drug-induced liver injury, a transplant was the only option. Now doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that the antidote for acetaminophen poisoning also helps some patients with other causes for liver failure.

Dr. William Lee, a UT Southwestern liver expert, says this treatment is safe, easy to administer and effective for treating liver failure if the disease is caught early enough.

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May 2010


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