Organ Failure

What is Organ Failure?

When an organ loses its ability to function normally and requires an external intervention then it is called as an organ failure.

Kidney Failure

Kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from blood, which are then excreted in the urine. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. The gradual loss of these kidney functions is called a kidney failure. When the failure (also called as CKD – chronic kidney disease) reaches an advanced stage, the body starts accumulating harmful levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes.

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, there may be few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until the kidney function is significantly impaired.

Causes of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney's filtering units (glomeruli)
  • Interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney's tubules and surrounding structures
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers
  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys
  • Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis
The treatment for renal failure is to delay the progression of the disease by treating the main cause of the failure. If the failure reaches the - end-stage kidney failure then the treatment for a patient is dialysis or a kidney transplant. The costs of renal transplants range from Rs 5 to 10 lakhs. In Government hospitals the cost are minimal. And the cost of medicines post transplant is about Rs 5-10 thousand a month.

Click here to view Kidney Transplant Centres

Liver Failure

The main function of liver is to helps the body to digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. All of the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. In the liver, there is a break down, balance, and creation of nutrients for the body to use. Drugs also get metabolized into forms that are easier for the body to use.

The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called bile. Bile helps to break down fats, preparing them for further digestion and absorption. Harmful substances which have been broken down by the liver are excreted into the bile or blood and finally as feces and urine.

Some of the vital functions of the liver are:

Bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
Proteins for blood plasma
Cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
Immune factors that help to fight infections

Harmful ammonia to urea
Blood of drugs and other harmful substances
Bilirubin (Causes yellowing of skin and eyes)

Processing -
Hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
Blood clotting
Removing bacteria from the bloodstream

A person with liver failure will have mild or severe limitations in the function of the liver. When the failure occurs rapidly, in a matter of weeks it is acute liver failure. If it occurs slowly over months and years it is chronic liver failure.

Liver failure may be caused by:
Liver cirrhosis
Alcoholic liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Early-stage liver cancer
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Wilson's disease
Biliary duct atresia
Cystic fibrosis

Liver transplant is a treatment option for people who have end-stage liver failure that can't be controlled using other treatments and for some people with liver cancer. The cost of a liver transplant ranges between Rs. 15 to 35 lakhs in private hospitals.

Stanley Medical College and Hospital in Chennai is one Government Hospital that does liver transplantation.

Click here to view Liver Transplant Centres

Liver & Alcohol (Dr. Bipin Vibhute)

If there’s one thing that most people understand about the liver it’s that it serves as the body’s liquor control board. When you have a glass of wine, beer or other liquor, the liver is in charge of processing this alcohol and detoxifying the blood.

Yet breaking down alcohol is only one of the liver’s over 500 vital functions. This means it can only handle so much alcohol at once. If you overload your liver (drink too much at one time), the excess alcohol will end up circulating in your bloodstream affecting your brain, heart and other tissues resulting in you becoming increasingly intoxicated.

If you continue to drink excessively, either through binge drinking or by having multiple drinks on a daily basis, you’re making your liver work continuous overtime. The consequences of this abuse may be the destruction of liver cells, a build-up of fat deposits in your liver (fatty liver), or more seriously, liver inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis), permanent scarring (cirrhosis) or even liver cancer.

There is no hard and fast rule regarding how much you can drink without damaging your liver. The following are some tips to consider when deciding whether or not to have that first drink or to order the next round.

Don’t try to keep up ‘drink for drink’ with your friends who may have a higher tolerance for alcohol. You may think you ‘know your limit’ but the truth is your gender, nationality, weight and health, determine how much alcohol is “safe”.

Don’t choose your drinks based on the belief that one form of alcohol is not as harmful as another. Each has the same effect on the liver whether taken alone or diluted. Never mix alcohol and medication. The combination of acetaminophen and alcohol for example, can lead to liver failure.

If you’re a woman, don’t give in to peer pressure to drink more than you might otherwise. Women absorb more alcohol than men and therefore are more susceptible to alcohol-related liver disease even if they consume less alcohol. If you have hepatitis or any other form of liver disease, avoid alcohol completely. Alcohol can compound ongoing damage to the liver. Don’t play ‘drinking games’ which encourage excessive consumption of alcohol within a short period of time.

Limit your alcohol consumption to one or two drinks, but never on a daily basis.

As far as your liver is concerned, the safest amount of alcohol is no alcohol at all.

Heart Failure

The heart is a muscular organ which pumps blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions.

The right side of the heart collects de-oxygenated blood, in the right atrium, from the body and pump it, through the tricuspid valve, via the right ventricle, into the lungs so that there is a gas exchange. This happens through the passive process of diffusion.

The left side of the heart collects oxygenated blood from the lungs into the left atrium. From the left atrium the blood moves to the left ventricle, through the bicuspid valve, which pumps it out to the body. On both sides, the lower ventricles are thicker and stronger than the upper atria. The muscle wall surrounding the left ventricle is thicker than the wall surrounding the right ventricle due to the higher force needed to pump the blood through the systemic circulation.

Heart failure is caused when the heart fails to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure. It usually occurs because the heart muscle has become too weak or stiff to work properly.

A patient suffering from heart failure needs some support for the heart to do its job. This support is usually provided in the form of medicines.

Shortness of breath, tiredness and ankle swelling are the main symptoms of heart failure. But all of these symptoms can have other causes, only some of which are serious. The symptoms of heart failure can develop quickly (acute heart failure) and develop gradually (chronic heart failure).

The major risk factors for heart disease (cardiovascular disease or CVD) are smoking, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes, age, gender, and heredity (including race).

The Cardiac diseases which requires heart transplantation:
1. Congenital Heart Disease
2. Cardiomyopathy
3. Congestive Heart Failure
4. Coronary Artery Disease
5. Valvular Disease

There are very few hospitals in India that have the license for heart transplants. Each transplant may cost from Rs. 20-25 lakhs.

Click here to view Heart Transplant Centres

Toll Free Organ Donation Helpline - 1800 1037100


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