October is National Liver Awareness Month and the American Red Cross reminds eligible blood donors that organ transplant patients often rely on donated blood. Liver transplant patients may need 30 or more different blood products during surgery. In fact, two liver transplant patients at a hospital served by the Red Cross were recently treated with a combined total of 40 pints of red blood cells and 30 pints of plasma.
Liver transplants are the second most common transplant in the United States, following kidney transplants. According to the American Liver Foundation, more than 6,000 liver transplants are performed each year in the U.S.
All blood types are currently needed, especially O negative, B negative and A negative. Type O negative, the universal blood type, can potentially be transfused to patients with any blood type.
There are a variety of ways to help protect your liver from disease. The American Liver Foundation offers these simple tips: Eat a healthy diet low in fatty foods, limit alcohol intake, manage medications appropriately and limit contact with toxins. For more information, visit liverfoundation.org.