Recommendations For After Liver Transplantation
We want to inform you about some important points to our valuable patients who started a new life after liver transplantation.
Can liver transplant patients get a COVID-19 vaccine? Are vaccines effective in patients with liver transplantation?
The British Association of Gastroenterology (BSG) and the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) have recommended to patients with liver transplant, chronic liver disease, and autoimmune hepatitis any COVID vaccine available in their countries
However, we do not have enough data on whether the protective effects of vaccines are at the same level in transplant patients as in healthy people. Although transplant patients are vaccinated according to the plan in their country, so that they stay safe and sound during pandemic, they should also obey rules: wearing the mask, keeping the social distance, and frequent hand washing.
Which vaccine (s) are more effective in liver transplant patients?
In accordance with the decisions made by the health authority of each country, countries have begun to reach different vaccines available on the world market. Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are effective vaccines. To date, comparing the results of studies conducted on the efficacy of these vaccines is inappropriate due to the difference in the methods of study. Although vaccine efficacy is not already possible to compare, all vaccines are effective and safe against COVID-19 infection. 1
Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects? What are the side effects?
As with all methods of treatment, vaccines may have some side effects. During the approval process, along with efficacy, vaccine safety is investigated and the side effect profile is also defined. The safety study of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine was conducted over 43000 people. 1 Some of the side effects that have been detected are:
- Pain at the injection site,
- Feeling tiredness,
- Feeling achy,
- Feeling or being sick.
If you experience side effects other than these, please contact a healthcare unit.
What should I eat after the liver transplant?
During the long period of illness, you have had decreased appetite, and, perhaps, you have lost a lot of weight. A regular, healthy and balanced diet program in your new life will accelerate your recovery. Because of the corticosteroid you are using, your appetite will be more than normal. In addition, you need to pay attention to some points in your nutrition.
- Have a low fat, low-carbohydrate content diet. It is important that your diet program includes fresh vegetables and fruits, cereals, skimmed milk and dairy products, lean protein sources (red meat, fish).
- You should check your body weight every day. Because your appetite is increased, eating too much between meals and/or junk food leads to weight gain. When you feel hungry between meals, better prefer water (or liquid) rather than having snacks. If you still feel hungry, then consume fresh fruits or vegetables after peeling.
- Avoid salt consumption. As long as you take corticosteroid treatment, your body will have a tendency for water retention. Daily control of body weight is important in this respect. You will get used to prepare your dishes and foods without salt over time.
- Avoid raw vegetables, moldy dairy products.
- Avoid packaged foods.
When can I start my normal sex life after liver transplantation?
A few months after the transplant, you can start your normal sexual life. 2 Most men have sexual desire after a few months, and women begin regular menstruation after a few months after the transplant. There is no problem with skin contact unless you and your partner have influenza, herpes or other upper respiratory tract or sexually transmitted diseases. 2 If these situations exist, please contact our transplant team.
- Before and after sexual intercourse, both your partner and you should take a shower with soap and water. 2
- Some of the immunosuppressive drugs taken can reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive drugs. Therefore, the safest method of contraception is the use of condoms. Couples can contact our transplant team or a specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology to learn about the most effective and appropriate method of contraception for themselves. 2
- We advise our female patients to wait for 1-2 years to have a baby.
* “Patient Information Booklet after Liver Transplantation” at or from the contact number to answers to your questions you can reach by contacting us.
- British Liver Trust. Update for people with liver disease on the Covid-19 vaccine – British Liver Trust. Last accessed 09.02.2021.
- Group Florence Nightingale Hospitals. Liver Transplantation Center. A Handbook for Patients.