Transplants: Harder Than Hearts

Transplantation of a human heart is without a doubt the most dramatic feat of modern surgery. Yet while the heart is only a pump, the liver, by contrast, is an immensely complex processing factory, with dozens of functions involving the chemistry of metabolism. Transplantation of a liver is far more difficult than that of a heart, and so far equally rare. Eight patients who have received new livers at three U.S. medical centers within the past year are now alive. In the early days of liver transplantation, survival for a month was considered remarkable. Last week one of the...