Who may qualify for a liver transplant?
Never will a race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation have any part in deciding if a patient is a transplant candidate. Liver transplant is major surgery; hence, a patient should meet certain criteria that include:
- A patient’s quality of life may be improved with a liver transplant.
- The patient should not have other diseases that cannot be treated or are not too sick to likely survive the transplant surgery.
- All other medical or surgical treatment options either have not worked or are not a good choice for the patient.
- The patient and support systems (family and friends) understand and accept the risks of having a liver transplant.
- The patient’s support systems are fully committed to and compliant with what is needed before and after the transplant to make the transplant a success. This would include access to funding for the transplant procedure, post-transplant medicines, and other healthcare costs. The social worker and patient financial liaison may be able to help find other ways to pay for their care.
Indications for liver transplantation are as follows:
- The patient has an acute (sudden) onset of liver failure.
- The patient has had cirrhosis (liver disease) for a long time.
- The patient has a liver disease that will lead to death or hurt their quality of life.
- The patient had treatments that did not work (and others are not expected to work).
- The patient has diseases that affect the bile ducts (the tubes that carry the bile away from the liver), such as primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and biliary atresia. Biliary atresia is the most common reason for a liver transplant among children.